Is your business protected from employee sabotage? Are you concerned with letting a key employee go for fear of reprisal? As a business owner, your job is to protect your company from threats. And, as hard as it may be to hear, one of the most persistent and concerning dangers is a threat from within.
An internal cyber threat is not a hypothetical scenario. It’s a sobering reality that can strike any organization, regardless of size or industry. Recent reports, including the 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, paint a vivid picture of the trends in internal data breaches.
The landscape is stark for business owners looking to fire key employees as those who are bored, overworked, or harboring unresolved grievances are more likely to become the perpetrators of cybersabotage.
With such data, it’s clear that protecting your company against this insidious threat demands a multifaceted approach. Regular employee training, coupled with the active involvement of IT professionals (internal or external), is crucial. But by fostering a culture of security awareness and collaboration, you can strengthen defenses against insider threats and enhance your overall cybersecurity health.
In this blog, we will explore how a strong threat prevention strategy can help shield your business from employee sabotage.
Develop a Plan of Action
According to IBM, 60% of data breaches are carried out by insiders. That’s why a comprehensive plan of action is a vital part of any smart cyber threat prevention strategy. It has a pivotal role in ensuring the effectiveness, coordination, and adaptability of an organization’s cybersecurity efforts. Here’s why such a plan is essential:
Strategic Alignment: A comprehensive plan aligns cybersecurity initiatives with your overall business goals. It ensures that cybersecurity measures are not implemented in isolation but are integrated into your company’s broader safety strategies.
A Proactive Approach: It can also enable your organizations to take a proactive stance against cyber threats. By identifying vulnerabilities, assessing risks, and implementing preventive measures, your business can reduce its attack surface and minimize potential breaches.
Coordination and Consistency: Without a plan, cybersecurity efforts may be fragmented, leading to inconsistencies and gaps in protection. A well-thought-out plan ensures that various security measures work together cohesively, enhancing overall security.
In short, a comprehensive plan of action is the foundation a solid cyber threat prevention strategy is built on. It ensures that cybersecurity efforts are strategic, integrated, and adaptable, allowing you to effectively safeguard your organization’s digital assets, reputation, and long-term success.
Enforce a User Termination Checklist
A user termination checklist is a comprehensive list of tasks and actions that need to be performed when a key employee is let go. It exists to ensure a smooth and secure transition when an employee, contractor, or user leaves your organization or no longer requires access to certain business resources.
The exact items on your user termination checklist can vary. Truly, it depends on your organization’s policies, the nature of the user’s role, the systems they have access to, and the consultation of either your internal IT department or an external IT specialist. Below are a few of the many items that you can include:
Disable or deactivate user accounts in all relevant systems, applications, and platforms.
Revoke physical access permissions (e.g., building entry, keycards).
Disable VPN or remote access accounts.
Disable or redirect the user’s email account.
Transfer ownership of files and documents to appropriate individuals or teams.
Disable physical access to office equipment.
Revoke access from any third-party services or tools the user was using.
Remove the user’s access from cloud platforms or external applications.
Change passwords for shared accounts or services the user had access to.
Review and update security policies, ensuring that no lingering permissions exist.
Back up and secure any important data created or accessed by the user.
Collect and secure company-owned hardware (laptops, phones, tablets).
Monitor user accounts and systems for any unusual or unauthorized activity after termination.
Conduct periodic audits to ensure all access has been properly revoked.
Remember, your user termination checklist should be tailored to your organization’s specific needs and security requirements. Regularly updating and reviewing the checklist will help ensure that your processes remain effective and up-to-date with any changes in technology or policies. If you are unsure about what to include, you can also consult with IT or cybersecurity professionals who can help guide you through the process.
Utilize Additional Applications, Tools, and Support
When it comes to safeguarding your company from potential employee sabotage and ensuring data protection, another essential aspect to consider is the effective utilization of additional applications, tools, and support mechanisms.
These resources not only reinforce your cybersecurity efforts but also ensure a proactive and comprehensive approach to mitigating risks associated with user terminations. With this, we’ll move beyond a user termination checklist & round out a solid cyber threats plan of action:
Adherence to the “Principle of Least Privilege”
A fundamental principle in cybersecurity is the “Principle of Least Privilege” (PoLP), which advocates granting users only the minimum level of access necessary to perform their roles effectively. By limiting access to critical systems and sensitive data, you reduce the potential for unauthorized use or sabotage by employees who are leaving the company.
Privileged Account Management (PAM) Software
PAM solutions enable you to manage and control privileged access to critical systems and applications. An important feature of PAM is the automated rotation of passwords at regular intervals, such as weekly. This practice ensures that even if a departing employee possesses the credentials, they become useless after the password changes.
Pro Password Manager
Implementing a professional password manager such as LastPass can be a game-changer in your cybersecurity strategy. It empowers you to create groups and assign permissions to those groups, thereby facilitating controlled access to various resources. This tool not only streamlines access management but also contributes to the overall security posture of your company.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
One of the strongest defenses against unauthorized access is the implementation of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to provide multiple forms of verification before gaining access to systems or data. Enforcing MFA prevents password sharing and ensures that even if a password is compromised, an additional layer of verification is necessary, enhancing your company’s data protection.
Immediate User Termination Support
Having a dedicated 24/7 employee or team available to promptly implement the user termination plan is crucial. This ensures that when an immediate or unexpected termination occurs, access revocation and data security measures can be swiftly enacted.
Centralized Identity Management
Centralized identity management solutions, whether an on-premises server or cloud-based, play a pivotal role in maintaining control over user identities and access rights. These solutions often include Mobile Device Management (MDM) capabilities that enable remote wipe functionality. In case of a termination, the ability to remotely wipe company data from devices ensures that sensitive information remains secure.
By integrating these additional applications, tools, and support mechanisms into your user termination checklist, you demonstrate a commitment to protecting your company from employee sabotage and enhancing your cybersecurity efforts.
Strengthen Your Organization’s Security with ANAX
For modern business cybersecurity, where threats often lurk from within, a robust defense against insider threats has never been more critical.
By developing a solid cybersecurity plan of action, implementing a user termination checklist, and utilizing additional applications, tools, and support, your organization can thrive amidst the complexities of the digital age. For more information on how you can protect your organization — even from internal threats, contact us today!
As a small business owner, your responsibilities extend beyond ensuring the success of your organization. Cybersecurity is a paramount concern, and protecting sensitive customer data is a top priority. Of course, compliance with various regulations is essential. But, it is equally important to focus on identity and access management (IAM) practices for the overall cybersecurity of your small business.
Key Identity and Access Management Practices for Small Businesses
Ensuring compliance and security can be challenging for small businesses with limited IT resources. That’s where IAM comes in. It offers a comprehensive framework that goes beyond mere compliance.
IAM addresses crucial areas such as user access management, data protection, audit trails, incident response, vendor and third-party access, data governance, ongoing monitoring, and employee training. By implementing these practices, small businesses can fortify their cybersecurity posture and stay protected.
1. Managing User Access
IAM empowers small businesses to exercise granular control over user access to critical systems and sensitive data. Rather than solely meeting compliance requirements, IAM enables you to define access rights based on job roles, granting employees only the privileges necessary for their tasks.
This approach ensures data minimization and mitigates the risk of unauthorized access.
To streamline access control, small businesses can implement centralized identity and access management solutions. ANAX’s Network and IT support services offer effective identity management solutions like Azure Active Directory for small businesses.
2. Data Protection
IAM plays a crucial role in safeguarding the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information. By implementing IAM solutions, small businesses can effectively protect customer data from unauthorized access, minimize the risk of data breaches, and prioritize privacy and security.
IAM solutions offer robust features such as encryption, secure authentication mechanisms, and access controls that align with regulatory requirements. For example, an e-commerce startup can leverage IAM practices to securely manage customer data, encrypt payment information, and enforce strong authentication measures, all in compliance with industry standards like PCI DSS.
With ANAX’s Network and IT support services, small businesses can benefit from expert guidance and solutions like Duo Security or Google Authenticator to easily implement robust authentication methods like multi-factor authentication (MFA). Safeguard your business and customer data with confidence through the power of IAM.
3. Maintaining Audit Trails and Accountability
IAM solutions go beyond compliance by offering robust logging and reporting capabilities. Small businesses can leverage these features to maintain audit trails, track user access activities, and changes in permissions. Audit trails are valuable for compliance, identifying security incidents, and enabling swift incident response.
For example, if a small legal firm needs to demonstrate compliance with data protection regulations, IAM audit trails can provide a detailed record of user identity, activities, and access permissions. ANAX’s Network and IT support services provide insights and tools for auditing and reporting, helping small businesses maintain a strong security posture.
4. Responding to Incidents and Mitigating Data Breaches
IAM practices play a vital role in incident response and minimizing the impact of data breaches. Small businesses should establish well-defined incident response plans that outline the necessary steps to be taken during security incidents.
IAM solutions enable swift and effective response by allowing immediate revocation of user access privileges, isolating compromised accounts, and preventing unauthorized access. With IAM as a cornerstone of your incident response strategy, you can proactively protect your business from potential threats.
5. Managing Vendors and Third-Party Access
Small businesses often rely on vendors and third-party service providers for various operations. However, granting access to external entities introduces additional security risks. IAM practices help small businesses manage vendor access and enforce security controls to protect sensitive data.
By implementing IAM solutions, small businesses can ensure that vendors and third parties have limited access to only the resources necessary for their roles. ANAX’s Network and IT support services offer expertise in vendor management and IAM to help small businesses establish secure relationships with their partners.
6. Protecting Data
In today’s regulatory landscape, data governance and privacy are critical considerations. IAM practices come to the rescue for small businesses by assisting in the enforcement of data governance policies.
These practices enable effective control over access to sensitive data and provide audit trails, demonstrating compliance with privacy regulations. With IAM’s contribution, small businesses can safeguard data integrity and maintain customer trust, ensuring a robust cybersecurity framework.
7. Ongoing Monitoring and Adaptation
IAM is a dynamic journey that demands constant vigilance, evaluation, and adaptation to tackle evolving threats and evolving business demands head-on. Small businesses must establish robust processes to monitor access activities, swiftly detect anomalies, and respond proactively to security incidents.
Furthermore, conducting regular reviews of all IAM systems, policies, and practices ensures their effectiveness while keeping them aligned with stringent regulatory requirements. Stay ahead of the game by embracing the ever-changing realm of IAM.
ANAX’s Network and IT support services provide ongoing monitoring and support to small businesses, helping your business stay ahead of security threats and maintain a robust IAM framework.
8. Employee Training
Empowering employees through vital cybersecurity training is crucial in fostering a strong security culture within small businesses. Regular training sessions educate and empower them on safe online practices, the significance of robust passwords, and identifying phishing attempts. By cultivating a knowledgeable workforce, small businesses can forge a formidable “human firewall” as the first line of defense against cyber threats.
Online resources and cybersecurity awareness platforms like Infosec, along with training services offered by Managed Service Providers (MSPs), facilitate effective employee training.
Bonus: Cloud Security and IAM
Many small businesses rely on cloud services for their operations, making robust IAM practices essential to secure their valuable data. IAM solutions that seamlessly integrate with cloud platforms provide centralized access control and secure authentication, ensuring a strong security framework.
In addition to IAM practices, it is crucial for small businesses to prioritize regular data backups. Backing up your data consistently helps protect against data loss and provides an added layer of security. Plus, it ensures that even in the event of a system failure or cyber incident, you can restore your data and resume business operations quickly and efficiently.
To learn more about the importance of regular backups and how they contribute to your overall data security strategy, read our article “The Importance of Regular Backups.” Implementing a comprehensive approach that combines cloud security, IAM practices, and regular data backups will help small businesses safeguard their critical information effectively.
IAM goes beyond compliance and serves as a critical aspect of small business cybersecurity in the digital age.
Small businesses can enhance their security defenses, protect sensitive data, and navigate the digital landscape with confidence by implementing key IAM practices. These practices include:
Centralized identity management
Strong authentication methods
Role-based access control
Regular auditing and reporting
Comprehensive employee training
With IAM as a cornerstone of your security strategy, you can thrive, grow, and effectively mitigate security risks.
In today’s digital landscape, Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) has emerged as a significant threat to businesses. RaaS enables cybercriminals to offer ransomware tools and infrastructure to anyone with malicious intent, no matter their coding ability, intensifying the risk of devastating attacks.
To put this into perspective, consider the case of the infamous GandCrab ransomware. Introduced in early 2018, GandCrab operated on the RaaS model, leasing the ransomware to affiliates who distributed it for a share of the profits. Countless victims fell prey to GandCrab, enduring significant financial losses and grappling with the challenging process of recovery.
What makes RaaS even more alarming is the accessibility it provides. Anyone, regardless of technical expertise, can access RaaS platforms with round-the-clock support. You can equate this model to any type of Software as a Service (SaaS) tools you use currently, like Microsoft 365 or Slack. This ease of access, combined with the IT knowledge gap in cybersecurity, leaves businesses vulnerable to these orchestrated attacks.
In this blog post, we delve into the crucial topic of protecting businesses from RaaS attacks. We explore the adoption of comprehensive security measures and best practices that organizations can implement to safeguard their systems and data. By staying informed and proactive, you can fortify your defenses against this growing menace and mitigate the potential damage caused by RaaS attacks.
The IT Knowledge Gap and the Need for Comprehensive Protection
Many organizations continue to rely on basic security measures, assuming they are adequately protected against ransomware attacks. However, the reality is that cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics, and traditional security measures alone are no longer sufficient to mitigate the risks associated with RaaS. Businesses must acknowledge the need for comprehensive cybersecurity solutions that go beyond the basics.
According to Group-IB’s research, the number of companies that had their information uploaded onto dedicated leak sites (DLS) between H2 2021 and H1 2022 was up 22% year-on-year to 2,886. This implies that approximately eight companies have their data leaked online every single day, largely driven by the pervasive RaaS model. It’s worth noting that ransom demands have escalated significantly in the past year.
Additionally, the increased accessibility and affordability of initial access to corporate networks offered by brokers on the dark web have further contributed to the prevalence of these attacks. Over the past year, there has been a 100% increase in instances of corporate access being sold, with the number of brokers growing to 380, thus driving down prices by approximately 50%.
Overall, the IT knowledge gap in cybersecurity combined with the rise of RaaS models and increased accessibility of initial access to corporate networks on the dark web leaves businesses alarmingly susceptible to these cyber threats. This reinforces the need for robust cybersecurity measures and training for all employees.
In the era of RaaS, it is crucial for organizations to implement multi-layered security strategies that encompass advanced threat detection systems, employee education and awareness programs, regular data backups, and incident response plans. Proactive measures like vulnerability assessments and penetration testing can help identify weak points in the network infrastructure and address them before cybercriminals exploit them.
Moreover, businesses must invest in robust endpoint security solutions to protect their devices and networks from ransomware infiltration. This includes utilizing next-generation antivirus software, intrusion prevention systems, and encryption technologies to safeguard sensitive data.
The Financial Implications of RaaS Attacks
When faced with such attacks, the demand for ransom payments and potential data loss can result in significant financial strain.
A recent study estimated that the average cost of a ransomware attack for businesses is approximately $1.85 million. This figure includes expenses related to incident response, system restoration, legal assistance, regulatory compliance, and reputational damage control.
Additionally, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, the financial impact of ransomware is tremendous and continues to escalate. The total cost of ransom payments is predicted $10.5 trillion by 2025—the “greatest transfer of economic wealth in history.“
This underscores the urgency and necessity of implementing robust cybersecurity measures in businesses of all sizes, especially smaller organizations, which could face even more devastating impacts due to limited resources and recovery capabilities.
Disruptive Consequences on Business Operations
Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) attacks can have far-reaching consequences beyond financial losses. Organizations may face prolonged business disruptions, loss of customer trust, and damage to their brand reputation. It can take months or even years to regain the confidence of customers, partners, and stakeholders, which can further impact the bottom line.
Here are three significant impacts to consider:
1. Revenue Loss:
Operational Downtime: RaaS attacks can cripple your business by rendering critical systems and data inaccessible, leading to operational downtime.
Missed Opportunities: Downtime and inability to serve customers can result in missed sales opportunities and delayed projects.
Dissatisfied Customers: Customers affected by the disruption may become dissatisfied and seek alternative providers, leading to potential revenue loss.
2. Customer Trust Erosion:
Breached Data: RaaS attacks that compromise customer data erode trust and violate privacy.
Customer Attrition: The fallout from data breaches can result in customer attrition as individuals lose confidence in your organization’s ability to protect their information.
Negative Publicity: News of a successful RaaS attack can spread rapidly, leading to negative headlines and public scrutiny.
3. Brand Reputation Damage:
Public Perception: Successful RaaS attacks can damage your brand’s image and market position, leading to a loss of trust and credibility.
Questioned Security Practices: Customers, partners, and stakeholders may question your organization’s security practices, impacting future engagements.
Legal Ramifications: RaaS attacks may have legal consequences, such as fines or legal actions, further tarnishing your brand’s reputation.
Remember, resilience lies in your ability to anticipate, prepare, and respond effectively to the evolving cyber threat landscape.
Protecting Your Business from RaaS Attacks
Protecting your business from Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) attacks requires a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. Adopting a multi-layered approach that includes network security, data encryption, regular backups, and strong access controls is crucial. Continuous monitoring and updating of security measures are essential to stay ahead of evolving threats.
First and foremost, conducting regular risk assessments is crucial to protect your small business against these cyber threats. Identify the weak points in your infrastructure, systems, and processes that may make you an easy target for RaaS attacks. Implementing robust security measures, such as strong access controls, data encryption, and network segmentation, can significantly mitigate these risks.
Equally important is educating your employees about cybersecurity best practices. Offer comprehensive training programs that raise awareness about phishing scams, social engineering tactics, and safe online behavior. By fostering a culture of cyber vigilance, you empower your team to act as the first line of defense against RaaS attacks.
Lastly, developing an incident response plan is paramount. Outline clear procedures to follow in the event of a breach or ransomware incident. This includes regular backups of critical data, testing the restoration process, and establishing communication channels to quickly address and contain the situation.
Partnering with Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can provide expertise and resources to enhance your cybersecurity posture. MSPs offer round-the-clock monitoring, threat detection, and incident response capabilities, relieving the burden on your internal IT team. Outsourcing cybersecurity to MSPs is especially beneficial for small businesses that may lack the resources to implement advanced security technologies independently.
In today’s digital landscape, the risk of RaaS attacks is ever-present. It is crucial for businesses, regardless of size, to invest in cybersecurity measures, bridge the IT knowledge gap, and take immediate action to secure their digital assets. By prioritizing cybersecurity and staying proactive, you can effectively defend against Ransomware as a Service attacks and ensure a secure digital future for your business.
Unlocking the full potential of your business has never been easier with Microsoft 365 Copilot, a revolutionary tool designed to propel your business to new heights. Seamlessly blending cutting-edge technology with the power of collaboration, Copilot offers an array of invaluable benefits that are set to transform your business journey.
Copilot connects all of your Microsoft tools, enhancing your skills with each and automating collaboration between documents and communication platforms to streamline management and free you up to strategize. Powered by large language models (LLMs) like Microsoft’s GPT, the Copilot system leverages Graph Data from Microsoft Graph to respond to user prompts and unravel intricate connections between entities such as people, documents, and events.
By tapping into these interconnected relationships, Microsoft Copilot becomes your company’s ultimate partner, offering intelligent suggestions and insights that anticipate user intent and generate remarkably accurate responses. All in all, it’s a great tool to elevate your collaborative capabilities, accelerate issue resolution, and help your teams foster a culture of collaboration and innovation.
In this article, we’ll give you 7 ways you can use Copilot to improve collaboration and productivity in your business. We’ve also included prompts to use with Business Chat, and tips to get you started using Copilot right away. Let’s dive in!
1. Create a Project Plan with Microsoft Copilot
Microsoft 365 Copilot empowers businesses to create comprehensive project plans effortlessly. By leveraging its integration with Microsoft tools like Microsoft Planner, Word, and Teams, Copilot simplifies the process.
Copilot will assist in setting milestones, assigning tasks (and automating repetitive tasks), and establishing timelines. It ensures clarity and accountability, allowing teams to track progress and stay on schedule.
Possible prompt: “Hey Copilot, in Microsoft Excel, create a project budget template with columns for expenses, allocate a total budget of $10,000, and calculate the remaining balance for each expense category.”
When project planning with Copilot, use clear and action-oriented prompts that include the tool, structure, allocation, and any calculations or formulas needed for effective project planning. This format effectively instructs Copilot to generate specific outputs and take precise actions, resulting in more accurate and relevant assistance.
2. Break Down Tasks and Milestones
Once your project plan is in place, leverage Copilot’s capabilities with the Microsoft Planner tool to set milestones and timelines for each phase, ensuring key checkpoints and keeping everyone on track.
Copilot will assist you in setting specific milestones and timelines within Planner, ensuring clear goals and a structured project timeline. This enables you to establish key checkpoints for each phase, keep everyone on track, and maintain progress throughout the project.
Possible prompt: With a prompt like “Hey Copilot, add milestones and timelines for the design phase of our website redesign project in Microsoft Planner,” Copilot will assist you in establishing clear goals and maintaining project progress.
3. Strategize Schedules
Copilot plays a crucial role in helping businesses sync and strategize schedules efficiently, even for beginners. By instructing Copilot, you can streamline scheduling processes and ensure effective time management. For example, saying “Hey Copilot, schedule a meeting with the marketing team next Monday at 10 AM” will prompt Copilot to add the meeting to the calendar and notify team members, promoting alignment and collaboration.
With its ability to sync schedules across Microsoft applications like Outlook and Teams, Copilot enables seamless coordination. It can help find suitable meeting slots by analyzing team members’ availability and suggesting optimal times, eliminating scheduling conflicts.
Additionally, Copilot assists in strategizing schedules by providing insights and recommendations. For instance, when planning a product launch and allocating tasks, Copilot analyzes availability, workload, and dependencies to suggest an optimized schedule, ensuring efficient resource allocation and smooth execution.
Possible prompt: To prompt Copilot for syncing and strategizing schedules across different time zones, reinforce the objective of aligning schedules and maximizing productivity.
For example, you can say “Hey Copilot, help me sync and strategize schedules with collaborators in New York (EST), London (GMT), and Sydney (AEST). Please provide recommendations and suggest optimal meeting slots that accommodate everyone’s availability. Additionally, analyze workload and dependencies to help us allocate tasks efficiently.”
4. Meet Efficiently
Copilot enhances meeting efficiency by providing real-time summaries and action items in Microsoft Teams. It helps create documents meeting notes, generating summaries, and identifying key discussion points. For example, during a brainstorming session, Copilot can help summarize ideas and highlight potential benefits and drawbacks.
By leveraging Copilot’s transcription and summarization capabilities in Teams meetings, you ensure accurate and accessible meeting records for future reference.
Possible prompt: A simple prompt like “Hey Copilot, transcribe and summarize today’s team meeting in Teams and save it for future reference” enables Copilot to capture and organize meeting insights effectively.
5. Sync Communication and Collaboration
With the help of Microsoft 365 Copilot, businesses can unlock a world of seamless collaboration. Imagine setting up a shared workspace in Microsoft Teams with just a simple instruction to Copilot: “Hey Copilot, create a channel called ‘Web Revamp Projects’ in Teams, add John, Lisa, and Sarah, and give them edit permissions.” Voila! You’ve established a collaborative environment that fosters teamwork effortlessly.
Once the shared workspace is ready, Copilot revolutionizes the way projects are approached by enabling real-time collaboration among team members. Let’s say the marketing team is working on a Word document to create a captivating campaign plan. Copilot allows them to dive into the document simultaneously, sharing ideas, expertise, and providing instant feedback. It’s like having a virtual creative process that effortlessly propells the project forward.
Possible prompt: In this section’s example, the prompt includes the following elements:
1. Action: Instruct Copilot to create a channel called ‘Web Revamp Projects’ in Microsoft Teams.
2. Membership: Specify the individuals to be added as members, in this case, John, Lisa, and Sarah.
3. Permissions: Clearly state the desired permissions, which is to grant them edit permissions.
By providing specific and clear prompts, you ensure that Copilot sets up the shared workspace exactly as you intend, creating the desired channel, adding the specified members, and assigning them the appropriate permissions. This facilitates seamless collaboration and teamwork within the shared workspace.
6. Sync Documents and Tools
Microsoft Copilot serves as a virtual assistant, enabling smooth communication, refining documents collectively, and providing valuable insights, ultimately driving successful outcomes.
With Copilot’s seamless integration into Microsoft Word, teams can effortlessly review and refine documents. For example, the legal team can leave comments on a contract draft, enabling smooth communication and collective refinement. In Word, Copilot’s track changes feature simplifies the process of managing document revisions, making it transparent and efficient.
Additionally, Copilot integrates seamlessly into Microsoft Teams, elevating team conversations by providing vital information, transcribing discussions, and listing actionable steps. It ensures that every team member is fully informed and aligned, facilitating effective collaboration. Copilot also optimizes email management in Microsoft Outlook, generating concise drafts based on your instructions and extracting relevant information from emails. It saves valuable time and enhances communication by providing insights and context.
Possible prompt: “Hey Copilot, review the latest version of the marketing proposal in Microsoft Word and suggest edits for clarity and conciseness.”
When using Copilot to sync documents and tools, be specific and provide clear instructions. Clearly state the document or tool you want Copilot to work with, along with the specific task or action you need assistance with. This helps Copilot understand your intent and provide accurate suggestions or edits.
For example, instead of saying “Review the marketing proposal,” specify the document version and mention the specific area you want Copilot to focus on, such as “Review the latest version of the marketing proposal and suggest edits for the executive summary section.”
7. Track Progress and Updates:
To track projects effectively using Microsoft 365 Copilot, you can leverage its integration with Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Teams. Simply ask Copilot to provide you with a status update on the project. For example, you can say, “Hey Copilot, give me a progress update on the website redesign project in Microsoft Planner.”
Copilot will gather information from Planner, such as completed tasks, upcoming milestones, and pending assignments, providing you with a consolidated view of the project’s progress. Additionally, Copilot can summarize key discussions and decisions in Microsoft Teams, ensuring you stay informed about the latest updates to a project.
By utilizing these integrations, Copilot empowers you to have real-time visibility into project progress, enabling you to make informed decisions and keep the project on track.
Possible prompt: Instead of saying, “Hey Copilot, create a project plan for the website redesign project,” provide more details like, “Hey Copilot, create a project plan for the website redesign project in Microsoft Planner. Add tasks for content creation, design, and development, and set a deadline for each task.”
Be detailed about the desired outcome, the tools you want to use, and the specific actions you need to take. Remember, Copilot is designed to understand and respond to your instructions, so providing specific prompts ensures that Copilot generates a project plan that aligns with your expectations and includes all the necessary elements.
Copilot is not just a project management assistant; it’s also there to lend a helping hand when technical issues arise. Simply say, “Hey Copilot, I’m having trouble with network connectivity. Can you provide me with step-by-step troubleshooting instructions?” Copilot’s extensive knowledge base and problem-solving capabilities come to the rescue, guiding you through the troubleshooting process and minimizing downtime.
Support Business Growth with Microsoft Copilot Support
Microsoft 365 Copilot is the ultimate tool for businesses, even for those who are not familiar with the intricacies of Microsoft tools. It helps you plan, drive, and synchronize projects across different applications, assists in document creation and data analysis, and provides troubleshooting support. Copilot streamlines business processes, enhances communication, and boosts productivity, making it an indispensable asset for any team.
Are you ready to revolutionize your workday and unlock unparalleled success for your business? Look no further than ANAX, your trusted partner for Microsoft 365 tools set-up and management services. Take advantage of the game-changing capabilities of Microsoft 365 Copilot and propel your business to new heights.
Contact ANAX today and discover how our expert team can set up and manage your Microsoft 365 tools, including Copilot. Unleash the power of this groundbreaking tool and unlock unparalleled success for your business. The time for transformation is now.
Frequently Asked Questions About Copilot
Microsoft 365 Copilot is a new tool on the market—when will it be available for your business needs? How do you know it’s the right fit for your management style?
You can access Microsoft Office support for documentation, tutorials, and FAQs related to Copilot and other Microsoft Office apps. TheMicrosoft Community forum is also a valuable resource for troubleshooting, getting tips, discovering best practices and engaging with other IT professionals who use Copilot.
But, to cover the top questions about Copilot now:
Is Copilot available for businesses? Currently, Microsoft is testing Copilot with selected users and gradually expanding access. Stay tuned on Microsoft’s website for updates on availability.
Can Copilot be customized to suit individual work preferences? Copilot learns from user interactions and adapts to individual preferences, providing personalized assistance over time. You can customize Copilot to align with your specific requirements and workflows. UseMicrosoft Learn to find free online courses and learning paths, including specific courses on using Copilot effectively.
What measures are in place to address security concerns? Microsoft takes data security and privacy seriously. Copilot adheres to stringent security protocols, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of your infrastructure and sensitive information.
As technology continues to play an increasingly important role in the success of businesses, it’s becoming more important than ever to have a reliable and efficient IT system in place. However, building and maintaining such a system can be a challenge, particularly for small and mid-sized businesses that lack the resources to hire a full-time IT staff. This is where co-managed IT services come in. By partnering with a co-managed IT provider, businesses can access the expertise and support they need to keep their IT systems running smoothly, without the high costs associated with a dedicated in-house IT team.
What are Co-Managed IT Services?
Co-managed IT services refer to a collaborative approach to managing a business’s IT system. Instead of completely outsourcing all IT functions to a managed service provider (MSP), the business retains oversight while still receiving support and guidance from the MSP.
They can take many different forms, depending on the specific needs and preferences of the business. For example, the MSP might provide support for certain functions such as network security or backup and disaster recovery, while the business handles other functions in-house.
Advantages of Co-Managed IT Support
So why choose co-managed IT support over other options? There are many advantages to this approach, including:
Access to expertise: Co-managed IT services allow businesses to tap into the expertise of experienced IT professionals without having to hire a full-time team. This is particularly valuable for small and mid-sized businesses that may not have the budget to attract top-tier IT talent.
Flexibility: With co-managed IT services, businesses can choose the level of support they need and adjust it over time as their needs change. This flexibility ensures that businesses get the support they need, when they need it, without paying for unnecessary services.
Cost savings: Co-managed IT services can be significantly more cost-effective than building an in-house IT team. See more in the broken out section on cost savings below.
Improved security: IT security is a critical concern for businesses of all sizes, and co-managed IT services can provide the expertise and resources needed to keep systems secure. MSPs often have access to the latest security tools and technologies, and can help businesses stay ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting their data.
Co-managed Examples & Benefits
Co-managed IT services can take many different forms, depending on the specific needs and preferences of the business. Here are some common examples of co-managed IT services and how they can benefit businesses:
Co-Managed Help Desk: One of the most popular forms of co-managed IT services is help desk support. By partnering with an MSP or managed professional services provider, businesses can outsource their help desk functions and gain access to a team of experienced IT professionals who can quickly and efficiently resolve technical issues. This can be particularly valuable for businesses that don’t have the resources to build and maintain a full in-house help desk team.
Network Security: IT security is a top concern for businesses of all sizes, and co-managed IT services can help businesses stay ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting their data. Co-managed network security services can include firewall management, intrusion detection, and vulnerability assessments, among other things. By partnering with a co-managed IT provider for network security, businesses can benefit from the latest tools and technologies without having to invest in expensive in-house resources.
Cloud Services: Cloud computing has become an increasingly important part of modern business, offering scalability, flexibility, and cost savings compared to traditional on-premises infrastructure. Co-managed cloud services allow businesses to take advantage of these benefits without having to build and maintain their own cloud infrastructure. Co-managed cloud services can include everything from cloud storage and backup to software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings.
Backup and Disaster Recovery: Protecting business-critical data is essential for any business, and co-managed backup and disaster recovery services can help ensure that data is safe in the event of an outage, natural disaster, or other unexpected event. Co-managed backup and disaster recovery services can include everything from data backup and replication to failover and disaster recovery planning and testing.
By taking advantage of these and other co-managed IT services, businesses can benefit from the expertise and support they need to keep their IT systems running smoothly, without the high costs associated with building and maintaining an in-house IT team.
One of the key advantages of co-managed IT services is their cost-effectiveness. While the exact cost of co-managed IT services will depend on a variety of factors, businesses can generally expect to save money compared to building and maintaining an in-house IT team.
When considering the cost of co-managed vs internal IT services, it’s important to consider both the direct and indirect cost differences. Direct costs include things like the cost of the MSP or managed professional services provider, compared to salaries for internal IT resources. Also think about indirect costs like hardware, software, or other resources that need to be purchased, lost productivity due to IT issues, as well as the cost of recruiting and retaining in-house IT talent.
To get a better sense of the cost of co-managed IT services, it’s important to do your research and understand the specific services and pricing models offered by different providers. Some co-managed IT providers may offer flat-rate pricing, while others may charge based on usage or offer a tiered pricing model based on the level of service provided.
According to one survey by CompTIA, 50% of companies who engaged an MSP saved 1-24% in annual IT costs, 33% saved 25-49%, while 13% reported savings of more than 50%. By partnering with a co-managed IT provider, businesses can benefit from the expertise and support they need to keep their IT systems running smoothly, without the high costs associated with building and maintaining an in-house IT team.
By carefully evaluating the costs and benefits of co-managed IT services, businesses can make an informed decision about whether this approach is right for them.
Finding the Right Co-Managed IT Provider
If you’re considering co-managed IT services for your business, it’s important to find the right provider. There are many MSPs and managed professional services providers to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
To find the right co-managed IT provider for your business, start by identifying your specific IT needs and the level of support you require. Then, research potential providers to find those that specialize in the services you need and have a proven track record of success.
When evaluating co-managed IT providers, be sure to ask about their experience, certifications, and references. It’s also important to consider the provider’s approach to communication and collaboration, as this can have a big impact on the success of your co-managed IT arrangement.
Finally, it’s worth noting that co-managed IT services can provide a valuable release for in-house IT departments. IT professionals are often stretched thin, with a long list of responsibilities and a limited amount of time and resources to address them.
By partnering with a co-managed IT provider, in-house IT teams can offload some of their workload and focus on higher-level strategic initiatives. This can help IT professionals avoid burnout and ensure that they’re able to contribute maximum value to the business
Co-managed IT services provide businesses with a cost-effective way to access the expertise and support they need to build and maintain a reliable IT system. Whether through managed professional services or co-managed MSP services, businesses can benefit from the flexibility, cost savings, and improved security that co-managed IT services provide.
If you’re considering co-managed IT services for your business, it’s important to do your research and find the right provider. With the right partner, you can achieve the perfect balance between expertise and affordability, and ensure that your business’s IT system is well-positioned for success in today’s digital landscape.
Microsoft 365 is an essential productivity tool used by millions of individuals and businesses worldwide. With a wide range of features and applications, it can be easy to overlook some of the most powerful productivity hacks that can help you get the most out of your M365 experience. Enhance the benefits of Microsoft 365 with these 365 Productivity Hacks and take your productivity to the next level.
Microsoft 365’s Focused Inbox is a powerful tool that intelligently sorts your email, helping you focus on what matters most. This feature separates your inbox into two tabs, Focused and Other, making it easier for you to manage your email messages.
The Focused Inbox feature is designed to help you prioritize your email by automatically filtering out unnecessary messages, such as promotional emails and spam. It analyzes your email usage patterns and prioritizes messages from important contacts, allowing you to focus on the emails that matter the most. Focused Inbox also works across all your email accounts, personal and professional, making it easy to manage your inbox in one place.
Another great benefit of Focused Inbox is that it learns from your email usage patterns, becoming better at identifying what’s important to you over time. You can also easily reclassify emails between Focused and Other by opening an email and selecting “Move to Focused/Other” from the overflow menu.
How to Set Up & Use Focused Inbox
If you’re using Outlook for Windows and you have a Microsoft 365, Exchange, or Outlook.com account, you can easily turn on Focused Inbox. Here’s how:
1. Open Outlook and select the View tab.
2. Click on “Show Focused Inbox.”
3. The Focused and Other tabs will appear at the top of your mailbox. You’ll be informed about email flowing to Other, and you can switch between tabs anytime to take a quick look.
To change how your messages get organized:
1. From your inbox, select the Focused or Other tab, and then right-click the message you want to move.
2. If you’re moving from Focused to Other, select “Move to Other” if you want only the selected message moved. Select “Always Move to Other” if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Other tab.
3. If you’re moving from Other to Focused, select “Move to Focused” if you want only the selected message moved. Select “Always Move to Focused” if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Focused tab.
Have you ever sent an email and then realized that you forgot to include an important attachment or made a mistake in the message? With message recall and replace, you can retrieve a message that you sent and replace it with a corrected version. This feature is available in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Exchange email accounts in the same organization.
Correction of errors: You can easily correct mistakes or omissions in your emails, such as forgetting to attach a file or including incorrect information.
Avoiding confusion: If you sent an email to multiple recipients, you can avoid confusion by replacing the original message with a corrected one, rather than sending another email with the corrected information.
Saving time: By recalling a message, you can save time by not having to send another email or contact each recipient individually to correct a mistake.
How to Setup & Use
To recall and replace a message, follow these steps:
1. Open the Sent Items folder in the folder pane on the left of the Outlook window.
2. Double-click the message that you want to recall.
3. From the Message tab, select Actions > Recall This Message if you have the Classic Ribbon.
If you have the Simplified Ribbon, select the Message tab, select More commands (…), point to Actions, and select Recall This Message.
4. Select Delete unread copies of this message or Delete unread copies and replace with a new message, and then select OK.
5. If you’re sending a replacement message, compose the message and then select Send.
To check on the recall status, follow these steps:
1. After submitting a recall request, you will receive an email notification with the subject “Message Recall Report for message [original message subject].”
2. Select the View Message Recall Report link to view the report in your browser. If you’re prompted, log in with your mailbox credentials to view the report.
Recall actions are usually quick, but if the recall request can’t be executed right away, Microsoft will continue to retry for up to 24 hours before marking the recall as failed. Status updates are also quick but can take up to five minutes for a message with up to a few hundred recipients. For a large number of recipients, the recall itself is still fast, but it can take up to thirty minutes to retrieve the recall status for all recipients.
Microsoft 365 offers a great feature called Document Recovery that can help you recover unsaved files and versions of files that you had open in case of a sudden system crash or unexpected application shutdown. This feature can save you time and frustration, especially if you were working on a critical document or a long project.
If a Microsoft 365 app closes unexpectedly before you save your most recent changes, Document Recovery automatically opens to help you retrieve your file.
Document Recovery lists any files you had open that were recovered from the most recent time you saved them, the most recent time they were AutoSaved, or the most recent time they were Auto Recovered.
You can review each file’s date and creation time to decide which version to save.
Recovering documents in Microsoft 365 can save you time and frustration, as it ensures you don’t lose your work due to unexpected app closures or other issues.
How to Set Up & Use
1. Store your files on OneDrive or SharePoint and use AutoSave, which automatically saves your changes to the cloud as you work. This is the safest way to ensure you don’t lose your work.
2. If you encounter an unexpected app closure or other issue that prevents you from saving your changes, reopen the app. Document Recovery will automatically open to help you retrieve your file.
3. To see the entire Document Recovery pane, hover over the right edge of the pane until you see an arrow pointing left and right. Then click the arrow and drag it to the right to widen the pane.
4. Look for the date and creation time of each file in the Document Recovery pane. If you see multiple versions of the same file, choose the one with the most recent time to ensure you have the most recent changes.
5. Click each file to open it and review its contents.
6. Click the down arrow to the right of any file in the Document Recovery pane and select one of the following options, depending on your needs:
Open or View to review the file
Save As to save the file
Delete to delete the file
Close to close the file
Show Repairs to see if any file errors were detected and repaired
7. After opening any file in the list, you can continue working in it or save it.
8. When you have recovered all the documents you need, click Close.
9. Select one of the following options:
Yes, I want to view these files later (safest option) – Select this option if you are not sure whether you need the data in the recovered versions of the files.
No, remove the files. I have saved the files I need – Select this option if you are sure you don’t need the data in the recovered versions of the files.
10. If you click Close without reviewing all recovered files, you’ll see an option to view them again later. The next time you open the application, you’ll have the option to save or remove those auto recover files.
Customizing Teams Notifications
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform that allows users to communicate and work together seamlessly. However, with so much activity happening in the app, it can be challenging to keep up with notifications. That’s why Microsoft Teams offers different ways to access, receive, and manage notifications. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of customizing Teams notifications and how to set it up.
Here are some of the benefits of customizing Teams notifications:
Improved Productivity: By customizing your notifications, you can focus on the messages and activities that are important to you. This will help you stay productive and avoid distractions.
Better Time Management: You can choose when and where to receive notifications. By doing so, you can manage your time more effectively and avoid being interrupted during important tasks.
Personalization: Customizing your notifications allows you to personalize your Teams experience. You can set up notifications based on your preferences and work style.
How to Set Up & Use
1. Open Microsoft Teams and click on your profile picture in the top-right corner.
2. Select Settings and more (…) > Settings.
3. Click on Notifications.
4. Change the settings to what you want.
5. To modify your notification style, select Appearance and sound > Notification style:
Teams built-in: Receive your Teams notifications in-app.
Windows: View only your desktop notifications.
6. Under Teams and channels, choose which desktop and activity notifications you’d like:
All activity: Adjust new messages, reactions, and all mentions.
Mentions & replies: Adjust personal mentions and replies to your messages.
Custom: Choose what you get notified for and how.
7. Under Custom, you can customize notifications for:
All teams and channels: Change notifications for all teams and channels that you have access to.
Shown and pinned channels: Change notifications for only a team or channel that shows up in your teams list or anything you’ve pinned.
8. Under Settings > Chat > Edit, you can customize your personal @mentions, notifications, and other messaging features in Teams.
Sharing your calendar with others in Microsoft 365 can be a useful tool for keeping your team on the same page and ensuring everyone is aware of important deadlines, meetings, and events.
Improved Collaboration: By sharing your calendar with your team, you can collaborate more effectively, schedule meetings and appointments without conflicts, and avoid miscommunications.
Increased Visibility: Calendar sharing makes it easier to keep everyone informed about upcoming events and deadlines. This can reduce the chances of missed appointments or misunderstandings.
Better Time Management: By having access to your team’s calendars, you can better manage your time and prioritize tasks, ensuring that everyone is working efficiently and effectively.
How to Set Up & Use
1. Open your calendar in Outlook.
2. On the Home tab, click Share Calendar.
3. In the Sharing Invitation window, choose the calendar you want to share from the drop-down menu.
4. Enter the email addresses of the people you want to share your calendar with.
5. Choose the level of access you want to grant, such as “Can view when I’m busy” or “Can edit.”
6. Add a message to the invitation email if desired, and click Send.
7. The recipient will receive an email with a link to your shared calendar. They can click the link to open your calendar and view the events.
Note that there may be some restrictions on sharing your calendar, depending on your organization’s policies. For example, you may not be able to share your calendar with external users or people outside your organization. If you receive an error message when trying to share your calendar, it’s a good idea to check with your IT department or system administrator.
Automating Tasks with Quick Steps
Automating recurring tasks can be a real time-saver, especially when it comes to managing your email inbox. One of the best tools available for automating tasks in Microsoft 365 is Quick Steps. With Quick Steps, you can apply multiple actions at the same time to email messages, making it easy to manage your mailbox quickly and efficiently.
Saves time: Quick Steps can help you save time by automating repetitive tasks such as moving messages to a specific folder, forwarding messages to your manager or peers, and marking messages as read.
Increases productivity: By automating tasks, you can focus on more important tasks and improve your productivity.
Customizable: The default Quick Steps can be customized, and you can also create your own to make a Quick Steps gallery of mail actions that you take most often.
Easy to set up: Setting up Quick Steps is easy and can be done in just a few clicks.
How to Set Up & Use
Default Quick Steps & Editing
1. Open Outlook and go to the Mail section.
2. In the Quick Steps group, select the More Dialog Box Launcher button on the ribbon arrow at the side of the Quick Steps box to open Manage Quick Steps.
3. In the Quick Step box, select the Quick Step that you want to change, and then select Edit.
4. Under Actions, change or add the actions that you want this Quick Step to do.
5. If you want, in the Shortcut key box, select a keyboard shortcut that you want to assign to that Quick Step.
6. If you want to change the icon for a Quick Step, select the icon next to the Name box, select an icon, and then select OK.
To create a new Quick Step
1. In the Quick Steps group, in the Quick Steps gallery, select the Create New Quick Step.
2. In the Name box, type a name for the new Quick Step.
3. Select the icon button next to the Name box, select an icon, and then select OK.
4. Under Actions, choose an action that you want the Quick Step to do. Select Add Action for any additional actions.
5. To create a keyboard shortcut, in the Shortcut key box, select the keyboard shortcut that you want to assign.
Note: Quick Steps cannot be undone using a menu command or with a keyboard shortcut like Ctrl+Z. This is because Quick Steps can contain actions such as Permanently Delete that are not able to be undone.
Remotely Access Files with OneDrive Fetch
Remote access to files is a critical need for individuals and businesses. Whether you are at home, in the office, or on the go, you may need to access a file that’s located on another device. Microsoft’s OneDrive offers a powerful solution to this problem with its fetch remote access feature. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of using OneDrive Fetch and how to set it up.
Access files from anywhere: With fetch, you can access your files from virtually anywhere and from any device, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
No need for VPN or Remote Desktop: Fetch allows you to remotely access files without having to set up a VPN or Remote Desktop.
Download and view files: You can download and view files from virtually any device, including videos and images.
No additional software: There is no additional software to install or router configurations to make. Simply enable the feature and start accessing your files remotely.
To enable fetch access in OneDrive, follow these simple steps:
1. Right-click on the OneDrive icon in the system tray and select “Settings.”
2. Check the box that says “Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC.”
3. Open OneDrive on the web and sign in to your Microsoft account.
4. From the left pane, select the computer that contains the files you need.
5. You can access files on your local C: drive, any mapped network drive, or connected internal or external drives.
Important Considerations for Using OneDrive Fetch:
The fetch feature works best on Windows 10 machines.
The computer you’re trying to remotely access needs to be powered on and connected to the internet.
You cannot fetch files from a PC running Windows 8.1 or a Mac, but you can use these devices to access files.
You may be asked for a verification code to use the Fetch feature.
Manage Email Better with Outlook Rules
Email can quickly become overwhelming, with messages pouring into your inbox every minute. Luckily, Microsoft 365 offers a powerful solution to help you stay on top of your email: Rules.
With Rules, you can automate many common tasks, like moving messages from a certain sender to a specific folder, or flagging messages with a particular subject line.
Whether you’re looking to declutter your inbox or streamline your email workflow, Rules can help you become more productive and efficient.
Automate repetitive tasks: With Rules, you can automate many common email tasks, like moving messages to specific folders or flagging messages with certain words in the subject line. This can save you time and mental energy.
Stay organized: Rules can help you stay organized by automatically sorting your messages into folders. You can even set up Rules to color-code messages or play sounds when certain criteria are met.
Increase productivity: By automating repetitive tasks and staying organized, you can increase your productivity and focus on the most important emails in your inbox.
Set Up & Use
1. Right-click a message in your inbox or another email folder and select “Rules.”
2. Select one of the options. Outlook will suggest creating a rule based on the sender and the recipients. To view more options, select “Create Rule.”
3. In the “Create Rule” dialog box, select one or more of the first three checkboxes.
4. In the “Do the following” section, if you want the rule to move a message to a folder, check the “Move item to folder” box, then select the folder from the “Select Folder” dialog that pops up, and then click “OK.”
5. Click “OK” to save your rule.
Alternatively, you can use the Rules Wizard to create more complex rules. There are three types of rules you can create: Stay Organized, Stay Up to Date, and Custom Rules. The Rules Wizard allows for more customization and options, but can also be more time-consuming to set up.
In today’s fast-paced world, productivity is key to success. With Microsoft 365, there are several hacks that can help you work more efficiently and effectively. By using these hacks, you can maximize your productivity, improve your business processes, and achieve success in your professional life. So, start implementing these hacks today and watch your productivity soar!