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Tips and Tools for a Happy and Productive Remote Team

3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home for at least half of their working hours. The number of employees working remotely (not including the self-employed population) has grown 10x faster than the rest of the workforce since 2005.

There's a reason remote teams are becoming more popular. When geographic location is no longer a constraint, employers can attract talent from anywhere. Companies no longer need to be headquartered in large metropolitan areas to access top talent, and workers can live anywhere they like.

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The Busy Professional's Guide to OneNote

There are a ton of cool apps spread across Office 365 – but my favorite is OneNote. As a business owner, I am frequently in meetings. Inevitably, I come out of these meetings with lots of ideas, questions, follow ups, or to-dos.

Before OneNote, I would capture these in a regular notebook (or an index card). As someone who 1) has extremely bad hand writing and 2) has a hard time keeping up with slips of paper, I was constantly letting things slip through the cracks.

Since switching to OneNote, that has changed. I can access my notes from any location and any device (as long as I have internet access) without having to worry about keeping up with a physical notebook. Just as important - I can actually read my notes now.

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Watch Out for this Fake Office 365 Spam Message

Microsoft recently released Volume 22 of their Security Intelligence Report where they reported a pretty scary number: They’ve seen a 300% increase in user accounts attacked over the past year. After poor password management, one of the main causes of this is targeted phishing attempts.

Cyber criminals target potential victims based on industry, job role, and more recently, the apps and software they use. Office 365 is no exception. Recently, we were forwarded a phishing attempt targeting Office 365 made to look like a generic spam quarantine message. To the phisher’s credit, they made this attempt look very, very convincing.

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Five Fast Facts about Microsoft 365

Microsoft recently introduced a new product called Microsoft 365, centered around making business more productive and more secure. While it’s not going to be for every business, it’s a natural fit for many businesses – especially if you’re already using (or looking to move to) Office 365 or Windows 10.

Here’s what you need to know:

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Why You Should Be Testing Your Employees' Data Security Knowledge

You’re only as strong as your weakest link, and when it comes to data security in business, your weakest link is typically your employees. Not because of malicious motives – but because it only takes one click on a bad link or opening the wrong attachment to put your whole business in jeopardy.

To reduce the chances of your company falling victim to ransomware or another cyber-attack, your employees should know the red flags of a cyber-attack – and you should be regularly testing them on their knowledge.

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Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365: What’s the difference?

There is a lot to be said for consistency in product names, but when you have dozens of products with multiple versions of each, similar names can get confusing fast. We’re looking at you, Microsoft.

Microsoft recently introduced Microsoft 365, a bundle of existing products under one license, geared towards businesses. The name is similar to the already existing Office 365 (and the recently renamed Dynamics 365). In fact, a lot of people already inadvertently called Office 365 by the name Microsoft 365.

So, it’s easy to see how the two products can be confused. It gets even more confusing when you learn Microsoft 365 includes Office 365.

Let's break down the differences:

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From the Trenches: Reused email causes SharePoint Issue

Using an email address with only the first name or just first name and last initial works well for most small businesses. But it can occasionally cause confusion when you have multiple employees with the same name.

Normally, that’s when both employees still work there. We recently ran into a customer case where having a new employee with the same name as an old employee caused an onboarding issue in Office 365, specifically when adding the user to SharePoint Online sites.

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From the Trenches: Out of Office Phishing Scam

Phishing scams are not uncommon. Years ago, the "Nigerian Prince" versions of phishing attacks targeting as many people as possible, hoping to get a few people to fall for it. These days, cyber criminals put in a bit more effort and do their research on their potential victims first. 

We’ve seen a phishing scam going around recently targeting companies will high-level employees who are out of office (we’ve even experienced it first hand). The scammers are using this as an opportunity to try to get lower level employees to wire large sums of money to this.

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What Happens When Ransomware isn’t Really Ransomware

Ransomware has been making big headlines recently. The WannaCry ransomware attack knocked out systems all over the world in May. In late June, another massive ransomware attack (called Petya, ExPetr, or NotPetya) hit companies in Europe, taking down major companies like Reckitt Benckiser.

Except this latest ransomware attack wasn’t actually ransomware – it was worse. According to Kaspersky Labs, it was wiperware disguised to look like ransomware.

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How to Do Data Security on a Small Budget

By now, you probably already know that data security isn’t really optional anymore – even for small businesses. Cyber attacks are increasingly common and more and more small businesses are falling victim. But as a small business, you just don’t have the same resources as an enterprise to spend on cyber security. The thing is – cyber criminals know this, too.

You may be wondering if it is even possible to entertain the idea of data security on a small budget. Absolutely. All it takes is some careful planning and knowing what you need as a baseline.

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Ultimate Guide to Small Business Cyber Security