You think Zoom, you think video calls. For millions around the world, it’s a tool they rely on at work every day.
But for productivity, collaboration and workplace integration (as well as video calls), it’s Microsoft Teams that’s leading the way. Its tight integration with other Microsoft 365 services makes it so easy.
Now Zoom is looking for a piece of that action with the launch of a whole suite of features and services. They’re clearly designed to take on Teams and Slack head-to-head.
These will include email, a calendar app, and a virtual co-working space called Zoom Spots. Meanwhile a bunch of upgrades to the Zoom One platform are aiming to improve collaboration, keep chats flowing, and keep projects moving.
While it feels like a logical step for the video conferencing giant, it remains to be seen how widely adopted the new services will be. And before we recommend it to our clients, we’ll want to know that the levels of support, reliability and security are all bulletproof.
Many businesses are already committed to Microsoft Teams, which releases its own improvements almost on a weekly basis. But this is an interesting new development and we’ll be watching what happens carefully.
If you want to know more about the best tools to keep your team working smoothly together, just get in touch.
We go to a lot of effort working to protect our clients from online security threats. These could come in the form of key loggers that record you as you enter your login information, or DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, which overwhelm a service with fake traffic, causing it to crash.
As part of our service, we always advise our clients to install software updates as soon as they become available, and support them through the process where they need help.
But if you visit a website that asks you to install an Adobe Flash update… STOP!
Flash itself was actually discontinued in 2020 and is no longer supported, so you should assume that any Flash update messages will be a security threat.
Currently, fake Flash messages are being used as a cover for a new ‘botnet’ campaign that installs a malicious browser extension, called Cloud9. If you use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge you could be a target.
A botnet forms a group of infected devices that are controlled as one, without the owners’ knowledge, stealing sensitive data, sending spam, or performing DDoS attacks.
Worse still, the Cloud9 botnet will attempt to install additional malware to your device or network if it’s not stopped in time.
This type of attack is hard to spot because it looks like a genuine request, and just about anyone can become a target.
But there are things you can do to protect your business.
First, make everyone aware of the threat. If your people know what to look out for it’s less likely they’ll install the update in the first place.
Next, make sure everyone’s running the latest version of their browser and that security software is up to date.
Finally, enable Enhanced Protection in your browser’s Privacy and Security settings. This will give you a warning if you stumble upon a risky website or download.
We can help you keep your business protected from cyber criminals. Just get in touch.
You could be losing a full-time working week for every member of your team, thanks to the hassle of setting up video calls.
Video conferencing has revolutionized team meetings, and saves a huge amount of travel time. But we’re still not getting the full benefit from the new technology, according to new research.
Employees aged between 18 and 24 take up to 10 minutes to get set up for each remote meeting.
Times that by a typical five meetings a week, and it’s suddenly lost you 40 hours every year. That’s a whole working week of wasted time – a figure that gets even higher when you look at older age brackets.
It isn’t necessarily a result of differing technological know-how. The research shows that employees blame the tech itself for the loss of productivity.
Almost a third of people said they didn’t have the right tools for the job, and 23% even said they felt excluded from remote meetings thanks to inadequate tech.
Employees often feel that the audio-visual (AV) technology they’re provided for remote and hybrid working simply isn’t up to the job. That means poor microphones that don’t play ball, jittery webcams that interfere with communication, or the wrong choice of video calling software. All that makes meetings harder to set up and causes them to take longer than they should.
Despite this, businesses that offer remote and hybrid working are reaping the rewards in many other areas, including staff engagement and performance.
But there is a solution.
Assess your employees’ AV technology to make sure their tools are not slowing them down – new webcams and microphones could be a cheap and simple fix.
It’s also a good idea to ask your employees to find out where they see that problems are occurring. If they are finding your existing system difficult to use, or slow to log in to, you should consider alternative options or better training.
If this is something that’s slowing you down, we can help – just get in touch.
A huge number of small and medium-sized businesses would consider using pirated software to try and save money. A new study has revealed a surprising number of businesses willing to break the law to save costs. Our advice? Think twice before you walk the plank.
Right now, the most popular types of pirated software are project management tools, and marketing and sales software. But a huge 56% of business owners said they’d even think about using illegal cyber security software in an effort to cut costs.
Don’t do it.
Not only is pirated software unsupported – so if you have a problem with it (which you probably will) there’s no help available to rectify the issue – but it can open your business up to bigger problems too.
It’s common for cyber criminals to use pirated software to distribute malware. Some of this is designed to evade firewalls, which means once installed, it can spread malicious files beyond your device to your entire network. That can lead to your sensitive data being compromised or stolen.
The cost of putting things right after this kind of cyber attack can end up costing a fortune, and the pirated software can damage your devices by causing them to slow down or overheat.
We advise our clients to always use genuine software from a reputable source. If the cost of the software seems too good to be true… it probably is.
But there’s more you can do. You should prevent unauthorized employees from downloading software that could be harmful by managing admin rights properly. And you should ensure your whole team has regular cyber security awareness training to make everyone aware of the risks to your business data.
If you’d like help finding genuine software for your business, or creating a cyber security plan, just get in touch.
Do you inwardly (or outwardly) groan at the thought of yet another video call?
They’re now a normal part of our working lives, but it doesn’t make them any more exciting.
Good news: Microsoft is introducing Metaverse-style avatars, called Mesh avatars, to Teams.
You’ll be able to design your own avatar, personalizing its appearance, accessories, and even choosing its reaction gestures.
According to Microsoft, it’s common for us to feel stressed and exhausted after spending a long time on camera. So using a virtual representation of yourself to reduce that stress is just one application for these new avatars.
Better still, you won’t need an expensive virtual reality headset. It’s all done using the Avatars app that’s available in the Microsoft Teams app store.
Big tech is investing billions on developing the Metaverse – a 3D virtual world that mimics the real world. Within it you’ll find many of the things you’re already familiar with – shops, workplaces, and even social spaces. Some are predicting it will become ‘the new internet’ in the coming years.
It might seem wild to imagine a virtual world like this – but 20 years ago it was hard to imagine routinely having a mobile video calls with someone on the other side of the world.
Times change, and it’s really exciting.
Right now the new avatar feature is only available in the Teams preview build, but we’ll get a general release date soon.
Will you encourage your people to use personalized avatars in Teams? Want to find more ways to make work more fun for your team? We can help. Get in touch.