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!
According to a report by Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach for small businesses is $3.86 million. However, businesses that have a Managed Service Provider (MSP) in place can reduce their risk of a data breach by up to 53%. Businesses that work with MSPs are less likely to experience a data breach and, therefore, may be able to lower their cyber insurance premiums.
Shielding Your Small Business: Cyber Insurance Requirements
In today’s digital age, small businesses are increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats such as data breaches, ransomware attacks, and phishing scams. Cyber insurance is one way for small businesses to protect themselves against the financial impact of a cyber-attack. However, it’s important to understand the cyber insurance requirements for small businesses.
Typically, cyber insurance policies have specific requirements that businesses must meet to be eligible for coverage. Small businesses should carefully review their policy coverage to ensure that it meets their specific needs and that they understand the limits and exclusions of the policy.
By properly understanding and meeting the cyber insurance requirements for small businesses, organizations can better protect themselves against cyber threats and minimize the potential financial impact of a breach. However you do not have to do this by yourself, a Managed Service Provider can help your business become compliant and alleviate some cybersecurity insurance premiums.
Strategies to Lower your Cyber Insurance Premiums
A cyberattack can be catastrophic for small businesses, leading to financial losses, reputational damage, and even business closure. As a result, cyber insurance has become an essential part of risk management for small businesses.
By working with an MSP, small businesses can develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that includes risk assessments, employee training, and incident response planning. This can help reduce the overall risk of a cyberattack and lead to lower cyber insurance premiums.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can play a critical role in helping organizations alleviate rising cyber insurance premiums through monitoring, compliance, and strategy development.
By providing proactive monitoring and management of an organization’s IT infrastructure, MSPs can help identify potential security vulnerabilities and take corrective action before they are exploited. This can help reduce the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches, which in turn can lead to lower insurance premiums.
Enhancing your Compliance
MSPs can also help ensure that organizations are compliant with relevant security standards and regulations, such as the upcoming June FTC Safeguard rule, HIPAA, or PCI DSS. Compliance is a key factor that insurance providers consider when determining premiums, and non-compliance can result in higher premiums or even denial of coverage.
By working with MSPs to develop and implement comprehensive security policies and procedures, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to security and reduce their risk profile, which can help reduce insurance premiums.
Finally, MSPs can help organizations develop a cyber security strategy that aligns with their business goals and risk tolerance. This can involve identifying key assets, developing incident response plans, and implementing security technologies and controls that are appropriate for the organization’s size and industry.
By taking a proactive approach to security, organizations can demonstrate to insurance providers that they are taking steps to mitigate their risk and reduce the likelihood of a successful cyber-attack. This can help reduce insurance premiums and improve the organization’s overall security posture.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can play a critical role in helping small businesses establish a strong security posture. MSPs can provide small businesses with access to the latest security technologies and expertise, as well as a range of services to help identify and mitigate potential security threats.
For example, MSPs can conduct regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to identify weaknesses in a business’s IT infrastructure, and then recommend and implement appropriate security controls and technologies.
MSPs can also provide employee training on cyber security best practices, such as how to identify and respond to phishing attacks, and how to use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication. By implementing a comprehensive security program and working with MSPs to establish a strong security posture, small businesses can better protect themselves against cyber threats and demonstrate to customers and partners that they take security seriously. This also plays a big role in lowering premiums.
In conclusion, managed service providers can help small businesses lower their cyber insurance premiums by reducing their overall risk of a cyberattack. MSPs can provide businesses with continuous monitoring and threat detection, help them meet compliance requirements, and develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.
By working with an MSP, small businesses can improve their security posture and reduce the likelihood of a successful cyberattack. This can lead to lower cyber insurance premiums and provide peace of mind for small business owners.
As a business owner or manager, you know the importance of keeping your company safe from cyber threats. However, in recent years, a new type of malware has emerged that may not be on your radar: fileless malware.
This insidious type of malware has been on the rise, with some estimates showing that up to 77% of successful attacks now use fileless exploits. In this article, we will explore what fileless malware is, the types you should be aware of, and how to protect your business from these unseen and dangerous attacks.
What is Fileless Malware?
First, let’s define what we mean by fileless malware. We are actually combining two terms under one umbrella here, with fileless malware and LOTL (Living off the Land), both being techniques used by cybercriminals to evade detection by traditional antivirus solutions, but differing in the way they carry out the attack. While fileless malware executes malicious code in memory without leaving a trace on disk, LOTL leverages legitimate tools and applications already present on the system.
Both contracts with traditional malware as it is delivered to a victim’s computer in the form of a file, such as an executable or a document with a macro. Once the file is executed, the malware is activated and can begin its attack.
The top areas of fileless malware and LOTL include:
PowerShell – a command-line shell and scripting language that is installed by default on Windows operating systems.
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) – a system management technology that provides a standardized way for developers to access and manipulate system data on Windows.
Word Macros / VBS (Visual Basic Scripting) – It’s a popular scripting language used by cybercriminals to create fileless malware that can evade detection by traditional antivirus software. Due to its ease of use and versatility, VBS remains a prevalent choice for threat actors looking to develop fileless malware.
.Net – .NET is a software development framework commonly used by Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, Adobe Suite, and Quickbooks. The versatility and functionality offered by the .NET framework also make it a popular choice for developing fileless malware by cybercriminals.
Web browsers – attackers may exploit vulnerabilities in web browsers like Chrome or Firefox to execute code in the context of the user’s web session.
These are just a few examples, as there are many different programs and processes that could potentially be exploited by fileless malware attacks.
Types of Fileless Malware and What Each Can Mean to Your Business
There are several types of fileless malware that you should be aware of. First, there is PowerShell-based malware, which is a scripting language that is built into Windows. Attackers can use PowerShell to launch malicious code and perform actions on the victim’s machine, such as stealing data or installing more malware. This type is particularly effective because PowerShell is a legitimate tool that is trusted by most antivirus software.
Another type is called “living off the land” or “LOL” malware. This type of malware takes advantage of legitimate tools and processes that are already installed on the victim’s machine. By using trusted applications, LOL malware can evade detection and perform its malicious actions, such as stealing credentials or spreading to other machines on the network.
Fileless malware can be used for a variety of attacks, such as stealing data, spreading to other machines on the network, or encrypting files for ransom. Here are a couple of examples:
There’s the Emotet trojan, which has been used in several high-profile attacks. One notable example of the impact of Emotet was the 2019 attack on the city of Allentown, Pennsylvania. The city’s computer systems were infected with Emotet, which caused widespread disruption to municipal services, including the police department, fire department, and city hall. The city was forced to shut down its computer network for several weeks, causing significant financial losses and disrupting services for residents.
In 2020, a variant of the infamous Ryuk ransomware emerged that was completely fileless. The ransomware was able to encrypt files and demand a ransom without leaving any trace on the system’s hard drive. The attack affected multiple organizations in the healthcare industry, causing significant disruption and financial losses.
Fileless Malware Protection
Given the stealthy and sophisticated nature of this type of threat, it’s crucial to implement a layered approach to cybersecurity. Here are some key steps to take to protect your business from attacks:
Keep your software up-to-date: Make sure all of your software and operating systems are up-to-date with the latest patches and security updates.
Implement endpoint security solutions: As mentioned earlier, traditional antivirus software may not be enough to protect against these attacks. Consider investing in more advanced endpoint security solutions that can detect and prevent fileless malware.
Utilize behavioral analysis and machine learning: These technologies can help detect and prevent fileless malware attacks by identifying abnormal behavior patterns and blocking malicious activity.
Limit user privileges: Restricting user access and privileges can limit the damage that fileless malware can cause. For example, only granting administrative access to users who truly need it.
Educate your employees: Training employees on safe browsing habits, recognizing phishing attempts, and other best practices can help prevent fileless malware attacks.
In conclusion, protecting your business from the unseen and dangerous threat of fileless malware attacks can be a complex and challenging task. This is where partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can be invaluable.
It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest threats and implement a layered approach to cybersecurity that includes advanced endpoint security solutions, behavioral analysis, and machine learning. Additionally, restricting user privileges and educating employees on best practices can help prevent attacks. A lot of times, we see businesses struggle to handle all of this internally.
By taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, you can help protect your business from the unseen and dangerous threat of fileless malware attacks.
Compliance… some companies see it as a necessary evil, some align with the benefits of it for their industry. Compliance is crucial across all industries as it ensures that companies are following laws and regulations that are designed to protect consumers, employees, and stakeholders. It is essential for companies to operate legally and ethically.
In relation to your technology, compliance becomes even more important given the sensitive information that is stored and processed.
Unfortunately, compliance can be a complex and challenging task for companies, particularly for those that are not familiar with the specific regulations that apply to them. It can be difficult to stay on top of constantly changing regulations and to ensure that all employees are following the necessary procedures.
Fortunately, there are options for you to easily gain compliance. There are ways to get IT support and assistance with various aspects of compliance, such as ensuring that data is stored securely and that all software and systems are up-to-date. You can reduce the risk of non-compliance and can focus on your core business activities.
Here is an insightful chart showing the percent of MSPs who cover different compliance requirements for their clients:
This post is setup more as a guide than a blog post, so please link right to the section that aligns with you:
Accounting firms are subject to various technology compliance laws that aim to protect sensitive client information and ensure that financial data is handled in an accurate and secure manner.
This may be common knowledge, but to make sure we’re on a level playing field, some of the key technology compliance laws for accounting firms include:
Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): This law requires companies to establish internal controls and procedures to ensure the accuracy and reliability of financial reporting. Accounting firms must comply with SOX when handling client financial data, and must implement strict access controls and security measures to protect this information.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): This law applies to accounting firms that process, store or transmit credit card information on behalf of clients. PCI DSS requires companies to implement strong security measures, such as encrypting data, regularly updating software, and conducting regular security assessments.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This law applies to accounting firms that handle medical information for clients. HIPAA requires companies to implement strict security measures to protect client health information, such as encrypting data and limiting access to authorized personnel only.
FTC Safeguards Law: Replacing theGramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) in June ’23, this is a drastic update to the original law. Accounting firms may now be included in this law as the FTC has drastically expanded the definition of a “financial institution”. By focusing on “the types of activities” a business engages in, the rule captures businesses “significantly engaged in financial activities.” This includes accounting firms handling taxes as well as other firms.
The new FTC Safeguard law expands upon the requirements of the GLBA by including 9 specific requirements for “financial institutions” to protect consumer data.
The 9 requirements cover areas such as risk assessment, data encryption, employee training, and incident response planning.
Compliance IT Challenges
In relation to technology compliance for accounting firms, the following are some of the top IT challenges:
Data Security: Ensuring that client financial and personal information is protected against unauthorized access and data breaches is a major challenge.
Software and System Updates: Keeping software and systems up-to-date with the latest security patches and versions can be difficult, especially if the accounting firm has a large number of systems.
Access Controls: Implementing strict access controls to ensure that client information is only accessible by authorized personnel can be a challenge.
Data Backup and Recovery: Ensuring that client data is backed up regularly and can be recovered in the event of a disaster is a critical IT challenge.
Compliance Monitoring: Keeping up-to-date with the latest regulations and standards, and ensuring that the accounting firm is in compliance with all relevant laws, can be difficult.
Employee Training: Ensuring that all employees are trained on the latest security policies and procedures, and are aware of their obligations when it comes to handling client information, is a challenge.
IT Resource Constraints: With limited IT resources, accounting firms may struggle to implement and maintain the necessary policies and procedures to ensure compliance.
Cost: Implementing the necessary technologies and processes to ensure compliance can be expensive, especially for small accounting firms.
Technology compliance for accounting firms requires a combination of technical expertise and attention to detail that is sometimes not an option internally.
Internal vs External IT Compliance Coverage
Some accounting firms handle the IT side of compliance internally by establishing an in-house IT department. This approach has both advantages and disadvantages.
Control: By handling IT compliance internally, accounting firms have more control over the processes and technologies used to ensure compliance.
Customization: Accounting firms can tailor their compliance processes to their specific needs, which can be especially important for firms that operate in niche industries. This may turn into a disadvantage though, when it increases the work load as compared with outsourcing compliance.
Limited IT resources: Small accounting firms may struggle to allocate the necessary IT resources to ensure compliance, especially if they have limited budgets.
Lack of expertise: Handling IT compliance requires technical expertise and knowledge of the latest regulations and standards. Accounting firms that lack this expertise may struggle to ensure compliance.
Time constraints: Ensuring compliance can be time-consuming, especially if accounting firms have multiple clients and a large volume of client data to manage.
While some accounting firms choose to handle the IT side of compliance internally, this approach can be challenging. Small accounting firms, in particular, may struggle to allocate the necessary IT resources and may lack the expertise required to ensure compliance. There are many challenges that can be overcome by outsourcing your IT. However, larger accounting firms with well-established IT departments may be able to handle compliance internally, provided that they have the necessary resources and expertise.
Conquering Compliance with an MSP
An MSP can help accounting firms overcome the main IT challenges in the following ways:
Data Security: An MSP can provide the necessary technical expertise and resources to implement strong data security measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems.
Software and System Updates: An MSP can monitor software and systems for updates and can ensure that they are installed in a timely manner to keep client information protected.
Access Controls: An MSP can implement strict access controls and can ensure that only authorized personnel have access to client information.
Data Backup and Recovery: An MSP can provide regular data backup and can ensure that client data can be recovered quickly in the event of a disaster.
Compliance Monitoring: An MSP can monitor the latest regulations and standards, and can advise accounting firms on how to comply with these laws.
Employee Training: An MSP can provide training to employees on the latest security policies and procedures and can help accounting firms stay up-to-date with the latest best practices.
IT Resource Constraints: An MSP can provide additional IT resources and can help accounting firms overcome limitations in their internal IT departments.
Cost: An MSP can provide cost-effective solutions and can help accounting firms save money on IT costs, especially for small accounting firms that do not have the budget to invest in expensive IT solutions.
Overall, with all the above advantages it is not hard to see why many accounting firms choose to partner with an MSP when it comes time for IT compliance coverage. It is important though to make sure you’re partnering with the right MSP: How to Find the Best MSP for your Company
Financial Industry Compliance
Compliance is a critical aspect of operations for financial companies. Financial institutions are responsible for handling large amounts of sensitive information, including personal financial data and confidential business information. Ensuring the security of this data is essential to maintaining trust with clients and protecting the reputation of the financial institution.
Additionally, non-compliance with relevant regulations can result in significant financial penalties and reputational damage. Moreover, compliance also helps financial institutions maintain their competitive advantage and stay ahead of potential cyber threats. By implementing robust security measures and regularly reviewing their processes, financial institutions can detect and prevent security breaches and minimize the risk of financial loss.
You may be aware of each of these laws based on your experience, but to make sure we’re on the same page, the top compliance laws that financial companies must adhere to include:
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): This standard is designed to protect credit card transactions and sensitive information from theft.
Federal Trade Commission Safeguard (FTC Safeguard) law: This law requires financial institutions to implement specific security measures to protect consumer data.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): This law requires public companies to maintain the accuracy and integrity of their financial information.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This law sets standards for protecting the privacy and security of personal health information.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): This law regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer credit information.
The FTC Safeguard Law, set to replace the Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) in June 2023, represents a significant update to the original legislation. The law has been expanded by the FTC as it focuses on the types of activities a business engages in rather than the industry it operates in.
The FTC Safeguard Law requires “financial institutions” to comply with 9 specific requirements to protect consumer data. These requirements include risk assessments, encryption of data, employee training, and incident response planning. By adhering to these requirements, financial institutions are expected to maintain the security and confidentiality of consumer data.
IT Compliance Challenges
Financial companies face several IT challenges in adhering to compliance regulations, including:
Data security: Financial institutions handle a large amount of sensitive information, making it a target for cyber attacks. Ensuring the security of this data is a major challenge.
Data privacy: Protecting consumer data is a major concern, and ensuring the privacy of this information can be challenging.
System updates and maintenance: Keeping software and systems up-to-date and secure is a constant challenge for financial institutions.
Incident response planning: Quickly and effectively responding to security incidents is essential, but planning and preparation can be difficult.
Employee training: Ensuring employees are aware of security policies and are properly trained is essential, but can be challenging to implement.
Keeping up-to-date with changing regulations: Financial institutions must stay up-to-date with changing regulations and requirements, which can be time-consuming and difficult to manage.
Integration of systems: Integrating multiple systems and ensuring they are compliant can be challenging for financial institutions.
Ensuring vendor compliance: Financial institutions rely on many third-party vendors, and ensuring they are compliant with regulations can be a significant challenge.
These challenges require significant resources and expertise to overcome.
Financial companies have several options for handling IT compliance internally, including:
In-house IT teams: Some financial companies have dedicated IT teams responsible for managing compliance, including implementing and maintaining security measures and training employees on security policies.
Compliance departments: Some financial companies have separate compliance departments responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the business are compliant with regulations. These departments may work closely with the IT team to ensure compliance in the technology side of things.
Outsourcing to third-party vendors: Some financial companies outsource compliance responsibilities to third-party vendors, such as Managed Service Providers (MSPs), who have expertise in compliance and security.
Regardless of the approach, financial companies must invest in resources and personnel to ensure they are compliant with regulations. This can include hiring and training IT personnel, conducting regular security assessments, and implementing security measures to protect sensitive information.
Easing the Compliance Challenges with an MSP
Luckily, the strong option for overcoming the challenges is working with an MSP. An MSP can help financial companies overcome the following IT compliance challenges:
Lack of expertise: MSPs have a team of certified and experienced professionals who can help financial companies navigate the complex compliance landscape and ensure that their systems and processes meet the requirements.
Time constraints: MSPs can provide ongoing monitoring and management of compliance-related tasks, freeing up the financial company’s in-house IT team to focus on other important initiatives.
Keeping up with changing regulations: MSPs are familiar with the latest regulations and can provide guidance on how to stay compliant with changing laws and requirements.
Implementing and maintaining security measures: MSPs can provide expertise in implementing and maintaining security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption technologies.
Training employees: MSPs can provide training to financial company employees on security policies and procedures, helping to ensure that everyone understands the importance of compliance.
Regular security assessments: MSPs can perform regular security assessments and provide recommendations on how to improve security and comply with regulations.
Incident response planning: MSPs can provide guidance on incident response planning and help financial companies prepare for potential security breaches or other incidents.
Cost: MSPs can provide cost-effective compliance solutions for financial companies, helping them meet their compliance requirements without breaking the bank.
Working with an MSP is a great way to help financial companies overcome the challenges of IT compliance. With an experienced team of certified professionals at your side, you’re sure to have all the resources needed for successful IT compliance management.
Healthcare companies have a crucial role in protecting the sensitive personal and medical information of their patients. Compliance is therefore of the utmost importance for these companies, as non-compliance can result in hefty fines, damage to reputation, and loss of trust from patients.
Adherence to these laws and regulations is essential for ensuring the confidentiality and privacy of patient information, maintaining the trust of patients and stakeholders, and protecting the reputation of the healthcare company. Unfortunately, 40% of healthcare companies reported they haven’t evaluated their security measures in the last three years. Moreover, with the increasing use of technology in healthcare, compliance has become even more crucial, as the rise of cyber attacks and data breaches has put patient information at risk.
You are probably well aware of the laws governing your industry, but to make sure we’re on the same page, the top laws you need to comply with include:
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This law sets standards for protecting the privacy and security of patients’ health information.
The 21st Century Cures Act: This law requires healthcare organizations to implement robust cybersecurity programs to protect patient data.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): This law applies to healthcare companies that handle the personal data of European Union (EU) citizens.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA): This law requires healthcare organizations to share information about cyber threats and incidents with the government and other industry partners.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA): The FDA sets guidelines for the secure handling and protection of electronic protected health information (ePHI) used in medical devices.
These laws and regulations require healthcare organizations to implement strong technology systems and processes to ensure the privacy and security of patient data.
IT Compliance Challenges
Healthcare organizations face several IT challenges in their quest to comply with the various technology-related laws and regulations, including:
Data security: Protecting patient data from cyber threats such as hacking, phishing, and malware attacks.
Data privacy: Ensuring that patient data is protected and kept confidential in accordance with HIPAA and other privacy laws.
Data storage: Storing patient data in a secure and compliant manner, including backing up and recovering data as needed.
Data integration: Integrating patient data from multiple sources into a single, unified system.
Technical infrastructure: Maintaining an up-to-date and secure technical infrastructure, including hardware, software, and networks.
Employee training: Ensuring that all employees understand and follow best practices for protecting patient data.
Incident response: Having a plan in place for responding to and mitigating data breaches or other cyber threats.
Compliance monitoring: Continuously monitoring and maintaining compliance with all relevant technology-related laws and regulations.
These IT challenges require healthcare organizations to have the right technology systems and processes in place to ensure the privacy and security of patient data.
Internal vs External IT Compliance Coverage
Healthcare companies have several options to ensure compliance with technology-related laws and regulations and overcome the IT challenges they face. These options can be broadly classified as internal and external options.
In-house IT team: Healthcare companies can have a dedicated IT team to manage their technology and ensure compliance.
Training and education: Healthcare companies can provide training and education to their employees on data privacy and security best practices, including the use of secure passwords, secure data storage, and privacy policies.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs): An MSP can provide IT support, manage data security and privacy, and help ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
Consultants: Healthcare companies can hire consultants to provide expert advice on data security, privacy, and compliance.
Third-party audits: Healthcare companies can use third-party auditors to assess their data security, privacy, and compliance practices and make recommendations for improvement.
Law firms handle sensitive and confidential information on a daily basis, making them vulnerable to cyber threats and data breaches. To protect the privacy of client data and maintain the trust of their clients, law firms must comply with a range of technology compliance laws. In addition, there has been a surge of cloud use by law firms, with about 40% use in 2022, up from just 3% in 2020, highlighting the need for stricter cybersecurity compliance.
You’re probably aware of all of these plus potentially more compliance areas, but to make sure we’re on the same page, some of the key technology compliance laws for legal firms include:
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This federal law governs the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI) and applies to legal firms that handle PHI in the course of providing legal services.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): This federal law governs the collection, use, and dissemination of consumer credit information and applies to legal firms that use credit reports in the course of their work.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): This federal law governs financial reporting and internal controls for public companies and applies to legal firms that provide services to public companies.
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): This state law governs the privacy rights of consumers in California and applies to legal firms that do business in California.
These laws cover a variety of areas, including financial information, health information, consumer credit information, financial reporting, and personal data.
Legal firms must stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and standards and must implement appropriate security measures to ensure compliance.
IT Compliance Challenges
The following are some of the top IT challenges faced by legal firms when it comes to technology compliance:
Keeping up-to-date with changing regulations and standards: Legal firms must stay informed of the latest compliance laws and regulations, and implement any necessary changes to their systems and processes to ensure continued compliance.
Protecting confidential client information: Legal firms handle sensitive and confidential client information and must implement robust security measures to protect this data from cyber threats and data breaches.
Implementing security controls: Legal firms must implement appropriate security controls to protect client data and comply with relevant regulations, such as encryption, firewalls, and multi-factor authentication.
Conducting regular security assessments: To ensure ongoing compliance and to identify any potential vulnerabilities in their systems, legal firms must regularly perform security assessments and implement any necessary remediation actions.
Maintaining data privacy: Legal firms must comply with regulations related to data privacy and must take steps to protect the privacy of client data, such as implementing data masking and de-identification techniques.
Managing client data across multiple locations and devices: Legal firms must ensure that client data is secure and accessible across all locations and devices, including remote workers, laptops, and mobile devices.
Ensuring compliance with global regulations: Legal firms that serve clients in multiple countries must comply with different regulations in each country, which can be challenging and time-consuming.
Balancing security and accessibility: Legal firms must strike a balance between ensuring the security of client data and ensuring that the data is accessible to authorized users in a timely manner.
To overcome these challenges, legal firms must adopt a proactive approach to compliance, implement appropriate security measures, and stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and standards.
Internal vs External IT Compliance Coverage
Many legal firms handle the IT side of compliance internally by assigning responsibility to one or more individuals within the organization, who are responsible for ensuring that the firm is in compliance with relevant regulations and standards. These individuals typically have technical knowledge and expertise in the area of IT security and are able to implement the necessary measures to ensure compliance.
While handling the IT side of compliance internally can be challenging, it also allows legal firms to have more control over the compliance process and to tailor their security measures to meet their specific needs. However, it also requires significant investment in terms of time, resources, and expertise.
Some legal firms may find it beneficial to use an external Managed Service Provider (MSP) to help them with the IT side of compliance, especially if they do not have the necessary technical expertise in-house.
Tackling Compliance with an MSP
An Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help a legal firm overcome the top IT compliance challenges:
Keeping up-to-date with changing regulations and standards: An MSP can provide regular updates on changes to regulations and standards and assist the legal firm in implementing any necessary changes to ensure continued compliance.
Protecting confidential client information: An MSP can implement robust security measures to protect client data from cyber threats and data breaches, such as encryption, firewalls, and multi-factor authentication.
Implementing security controls: An MSP can help a legal firm implement the appropriate security controls to ensure compliance and protect client data.
Conducting regular security assessments: An MSP can regularly perform security assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities in the legal firm’s systems and implement any necessary remediation actions.
Maintaining data privacy: An MSP can assist a legal firm in complying with regulations related to data privacy and in implementing data masking and de-identification techniques.
Managing client data across multiple locations and devices: An MSP can help a legal firm manage client data securely and with accessibility across all locations and devices, including remote workers, laptops, and mobile devices.
Ensuring compliance with global regulations: An MSP with global experience can assist a legal firm in complying with regulations in different countries and ensure that client data is protected in accordance with the relevant regulations.
Balancing security and accessibility: An MSP can help a legal firm strike a balance between ensuring the security of client data and ensuring that the data is accessible to authorized users in a timely manner.
By partnering with an MSP, legal firms can benefit from the MSP’s expertise and experience in the area of IT security and compliance, freeing up internal resources to focus on other areas of their business.