Why cloud (by default) gives you security you couldn’t afford otherwise.

Regardless of your industry, security should be a top concern. That’s what makes moving to the cloud so attractive for IT pros. The increased mobility, flexibility and ability to go serverless all have their place, but the default security upgrade you receive by moving to the cloud is undeniably one of the greatest benefits.

In this article published by Forbes, Gabriel Tupula from Big Ban ERP explains why. 

Cloud-based solutions provide more security than most companies would be able to invest in.

While businesses vary vastly, what I have learned through consulting for business operations is that the core challenges of all companies are similar: difficulties with growth, cross-departmental transparency, reducing manual or repetitive tasks, figuring out where to spend time and resources intelligently, understanding data in real time to make decisions that are founded on facts and logic and knowing what is coming next.  

Whether you’re in a small, medium or large business, the burdens of everyday life are often similar to the irritants of the information system you use. Meaning if your information system provides poor reporting, then you likely lack the information required to make decisions.

Today, companies have limited options to run their small or medium businesses: physical servers, company-purchased cloud servers, software-as-a-service cloud solutions that include built-in servers or any combination of these options. Many business owners start conversations with our consultants with a firm belief that a dedicated company — cloud or physical — server is the best option for them to ensure the security of their company data. As we explain further, however, they uncover the truth: Cloud-based solutions with a shared server provide more security than most companies would want to or be able to invest in.

I’ll be perfectly blunt: Imagine you are travelling to a foreign country. Would you be safer staying in a tent on the side of a road or in a hotel with a doorman? I am going to assume that while you may enjoy an adventure, you agree the safer bet would be the hotel with someone actively keeping you safe should the unlikely need arise, not to mention the other experiential benefits of a hotel: a concierge service and daily cleaning services, which we can compare to the expert consultants and automatic backups. At a hotel, you share the costs of infrastructure and security with the other guests, much like you would on a shared server. It’s the perfect example of “strength in numbers.”  

The reality is that while people think they can have more control over their own storage when it is dedicated, you are actually in a tent alone without support or backup, and exposed to the elements. A third-party cloud system offers the security and safety of having a backup plan, specialists to deal with and prevent problems, strong surveillance and firewalls for legacy systems (their reputation is based on delivering their products), controlled access that is harder to access than physical servers, scheduled updates and upgrades, and auditing. All this is included in your annual or monthly fees, with no investment or work from your company required. Examples of mid-market and enterprise solutions include Big Bang ERP partners such as Netsuite ERP, Salesforce CRM and Rootstock ERP, as well as other solutions such as Freshbooks, Kenandy, Openair and Quickbooks. 

From source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/08/22/why-cloud-by-default-gives-you-security-you-couldnt-afford-otherwise/#17c77c4955b8

Bremmar can help you find the solution that’s right for your organisation. Contact us now on 1300 991 351 or fill in the form below and one of our consultants will get back to you! 

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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Australian SMEs should leverage cloud technology to win the innovation race

Cloud-based technology has ushered in a new IT era, in which small to medium-sized enterprises can avail of technology that was once only accessible to larger organisations. By introducing higher levels of innovation and productivity, the adoption of these cloud solutions has revolutionised the way Australian SMEs penetrate new markets and compete with giant corporations.

However, despite this rise in adoption, many businesses still encounter challenges when attempting to execute their cloud strategy. A successful IT strategy requires careful planning and ongoing management and, although the task may appear daunting at first, agile SMEs have several advantages over larger, slower enterprises when it comes to executing their digital strategy.

By following these guidelines, your business can get ahead of the innovation race by effectively leveraging the power of the cloud.

1. Have an IT strategy to take the shortest path to your goals.

Firstly, it’s important to set clear objectives and prioritise these goals based on the needs of your business. An IT strategy can help you optimise spending, eliminate obsolete technology and better integrate your systems, providing room for your business to grow and enabling you to become more competitive. Cloud-based platforms make it easy for users and departments to deploy applications to meet their specific needs, however, this creates the challenge of interconnecting these “specific needs” apps with the rest of your business systems. Integration should be one of your top objectives and having an IT strategy can provide guidance and ensure all applications integrate and fit with the organisation’s goals.

2. Prioritise training

Managing staff behaviour and attitude is one of the greatest challenges when executing an IT strategy. But employee adoption is critical to success, so education should always be a top priority. Projects will succeed or fail depending on the ability of your staff to use the IT systems and apps proposed in your digital strategy. By developing a training strategy aligned with your business objectives, you can ensure that your employees are open to change and your business is able to fully unleash the potential of the chosen cloud products.

3. Leverage agile partners

SMEs can often adapt their business strategies and innovate more quickly than large competitors, although funding constraints can sometimes impede progress. But, by developing a partnership with a local, experienced IT Provider, businesses can benefit from professional advice, have access to specialist product knowledge and be aware of the most cost-effective solutions. Through this strategic relationship, your partner will be able to deliver quick cloud projects ensuring quality standards. This guidance also helps SMEs to focus on their core business goals while making the most of their technology investments.

4. Empower your staff to deliver great customer experiences

SMEs that future-proof their IT infrastructure are able to respond more accurately and rapidly to customer requests. The same way as you look after your clients and want them to have a positive experience, you have to provide your staff with the means to deliver that experience. That human factor often gets forgotten in digital strategies and have a big impact on employees’ attitudes and behaviours, which consequently determines how customer-centric your staff is.

Empathy for your internal audience is key in delivering an exceptional customer experience overall. Address their needs and wants, and provide them with IT solutions that cater for that. Invest in workflows to facilitate processes, give them good hardware and equip them with everything they need to put the customer at the centre. This has never been as easy and cost-effective to achieve as nowadays, with the accessibility of cloud-based solutions.

5. Make it easier for your clients

Technology that makes life easier for your clients is an essential part of good service. One area in which SMEs have a distinct advantage over larger business is in their ability to personalise the customer relationship, for example, by developing differentiated customer portals or creating customised processes and workflows for clients.

Cloud-based solutions are also introducing new levels of collaboration between companies and clients, for example, through apps designed for keeping track of progress made on projects. These solutions also present an impact beyond technology. By building relationships that are based on trust and integrity, SMEs can cultivate rich and valuable long-term partnerships with their clients.

With the right approach to your IT strategy, along with support from an experienced MSP, your business can fully realise the benefits of cloud technology, including increased productivity and an exceptional customer experience. To learn more, call Bremmar today on 1300-991-351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

Office 365 guide what you need to know!

Top 5 IT challenges for remote workers and why we recommend Office 365 to overcome them.

Remote working, also known as telecommuting or teleworking, involves employees carrying out their duties outside the office. It’s “The Thing” of the modern world and workers who have that option are often more flexible, more productive, healthier and less stressed than their office-based co-workers.

In recent years, remote working has become common practice, especially among the young and digital workforce. I remember talking to a friend that owns a Marketing Agency and him telling me the challenges he faced while trying to hire some creative people as most developers and copywriters would only work from overseas while travelling.

Ok, we don’t need to go that far. Many businesses have Sales people on the go or C-level staff that are constantly on the road or travelling for meetings. The point is, there are many types of remote workers and many different reasons for businesses to enable mobility. However, there’s one thing they all share: technical challenges.

To ensure your employees can function effectively and productively, it’s important to understand the common issues that arise from being outside the office and away from colleagues. These are what we consider the top-five problems faced by remote workers in today’s business environment:

1. Access

C-level and management require access to servers and business applications to perform their role, even when they’re travelling or working from home. Your IT infrastructure should allow them to work with critical files from any location, at any time.

One reliable solution is to use a platform like Microsoft Office 365, which offers your business the tools to access Outlook and Office suite through the cloud. Office 365 also comes with other useful apps to facilitate access, such as OneDrive for users to store business data in the cloud and SharePoint to give your users access to a cloud document management solution. By using these products, no matter where your employees are, they can access all files and read, edit and save changes.

What do we recommend? Office 365, SharePoint and OneDrive.

2. Flexibility

Employees are often more comfortable using their own familiar equipment and can work more productively on a device of their choice. It’s vital to ensure your system can support a range of popular devices and operating systems. This can reduce the time and money your business needs to spend on training and troubleshooting technology problems.

Again, we recommend Office 365 as you can use it on any device, no matter the operating system. The good thing is that some of Office 365 apps, such as Teams and OneNote, also have desktop versions that you can download to your computer or mobile phone instead of purely using the web browser version – this is my personal preference.

3. Connectivity

Remote workers must be able to communicate with colleagues and clients in real time. A broadband internet connection is vital to ensure emails and documents can be transmitted quickly and seamlessly. Cable or DSL is a good solution for home workers, while mobile devices with 4G cellular broadband can facilitate fast connectivity while on the road.

Nowadays, WiFi is available pretty much everywhere, even in airplanes! However, sometimes you need to be prepared in case technology fails you. In that case, we recommend OneDrive.

You can install the OneDrive desktop app, which allows you to sync your OneDrive files to a local folder on your computer. You can then edit and change files while offline and those will automatically be synced to your OneDrive account once you connect.

What do we recommend? OneDrive and broadband.

4. Collaboration

Telecommuters need to be able to share files and collaborate with co-workers, just as if they were in the office. A wide range of tools have emerged to allow employees to work together on documents, manage projects, track tasks, organise workflows, host conference calls, make presentations and communicate using voice, video and text chat.

Here’s where everything comes together (and my favorite part of Office 365). All apps have native integration, so they sync and can be accessed in many different ways. For example, at Bremmar, we use Teams quite heavily to work on projects that involve different departments. This means that we have a central place that allows for complete real-time collaboration, so we can upload files from OneDrive or SharePoint, see all notes from OneNote, engage in conversations using Skype, and the list goes on and on.

Another example is OneDrive and SharePoint. You and your team can open docs from either of these apps and work on documents simultaneously. Once each member saves it, all the work will merge avoiding duplicity and document conflicts.

What do we recommend? Teams (as the main one), OneDrive, SharePoint, Planner and Skype.

5. Security

Hackers and cybercriminals are constantly probing for vulnerabilities in your organisation. Remote workers are often seen as a soft target, because these employees may be less vigilant when working outside the office or using their own devices. It’s essential to protect your sensitive business information by developing a remote worker security strategy and providing workers with the tools and training needed to safeguard their data.

Office 365 adheres to strict security and compliance requirements. This includes ISO 27018, which is a code of practice that focuses on protection of personal data in the cloud. For compliance reasons, it’s also important to know that all your data will be stored locally in Australia.

The platform also keeps data secured as Microsoft has redundancy in place and offers protection from any incidents that may happen at its data centres or system based failures on their platform.  The service also comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee to keep running for longer. We do, however, recommend that your business also invests in a cloud backup product, such as Skykick.

By providing all remote workers with the support and services they need, you can maximise their individual potential and improve the competitiveness of your business. To learn more about effective remote worker solutions, contact Bremmar today on 1300-991-351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

O365 cta

How to set up Microsoft Office 365 – Hints and tips for a successful migration

Office 365 is Microsoft’s industry-leading cloud-based collaboration and productivity tool. When migrating to the platform, it’s important to plan carefully, because poor migration decisions often can’t be reversed. We see these mistakes all the time, so we thought we would put together a few helpful hints and tips that we recommended you keep in mind to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

1. Conduct preliminary research

Traditional Microsoft Office applications operate differently under the cloud-based system as there are new features, interfaces and functionality. You should carefully research Office 365 in advance to understand how the platform works and know what to expect during and after your migration. The experts at Bremmar can help you evaluate how your daily business operations might need to adapt following the transition.

2. Make a detailed checklist

We’ve noticed many organisations are so focused on the technical aspects of their migration that they forget to create a detailed checklist that covers other essential elements, such as educating users and gathering feedback. Begin by drafting a plan that identifies the main stages of the migration, and refine the plan until you’ve covered all relevant details. These factors should be at the top of the list:

  1. Expected downtime during migration
  2. User adoption
  3. User training

3. Gather important information

Clearly, document all the information you’ll need for the migration. Some vital details include the names and contact details of users to be migrated, which applications you’re going to use, the domain name for your business, and where your domain is registered. The Microsoft Office Help & Training website can provide you with a detailed list of all technical information you need to gather and also offers a Migration Wizard to help you through the process. The website, is a helpful tool in understanding the process and what to prepare, however, we highly recommend assistance from an IT service provider to minimise downtime or quickly fix any unexpected issues saving your business time and money.

4. Verify your system requirements

Outdated devices, operating systems, browsers, or poor Internet access may cause unexpected delays or problems with the migration. Office 365 works best with the latest hardware and software, as well as a fast Internet connection. Checking your system requirements beforehand will save you a lot of trouble later. The easiest and more accurate way is to have your IT service provider doing all the checks for you or, again, digging into the Microsoft Office Help & Training website.

5. Plan your data storage

Office 365 offers cloud storage for your business, allowing you to upload your files to OneDrive. You can move files with a maximum file size of 15GB and can store up to 30 million items in a OneDrive library. However, you can get OneDrive client sync issues after 100,000 items, so we recommend to keep under 100,000. File names can only be 400 characters long, and no invalid characters and names will be accepted.

If you have a large number of files to upload, consider using a migration tool or engaging a specialist like Bremmar to assist.

6. Select a migration approach

Office 365 supports three types of migration plans. The first is a cutover migration, where all mailboxes and users are cut over at once. The second is a staged migration, where users and mailboxes are migrated in batches.

The final approach (and the one recommended by Bremmar) is a hybrid migration, which allows you to run Office 365 and local Exchange servers simultaneously. We don’t want to get too technical here and the right type of migration for your business will depend on your IT environment and requirements. Not sure which approach to take? We can help with expert advice and assistance.

7. Verify email settings

If you are migrating to Office 365 without any assistance from technical consultants, make sure you configure your email properly. Email systems use a DNS record called an MX record to figure out where to deliver emails. To ensure a seamless cutover, point your organisation’s MX record to Office 365 so new messages are sent directly to Office 365 mailboxes. You’ll need to sync accounts between Office 365 and your active directory domain using the Azure Active Directory Synchronization tool. If you configure your email sync incorrectly it could result in your mail being flagged as spam by the recipient.

8. Perform comprehensive testing

It’s essential to fully test your new platform to ensure everything functions as expected. Useful tests include migrating a subset of data, checking various applications, and sending and receiving emails. The more testing you conduct, the less chance you’ll run into problems after the transition.

Office 365 guide what you need to know!

For more hints, tips and guidance on planning your Office 365 migration, call Bremmar today on 1300-991-351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

How I use Office 365 and Outlook to supercharge my workplace productivity

Are you looking for a way to make your workday more productive? Microsoft Office 365 for Business is packed with features that are designed to make your workday more productive. Here are a few of the ways I use Office 365 and Outlook to make my day run more smoothly, whether I’m in or out of the office!

Office 365 enables mobility

As a Senior Client Manager, my weeks are usually filled with client meetings, which means that I spend a good portion of my time out of the office. The features of Office 365 ensure I am on top of my work, no matter where I am.

With Office 365 and Outlook, I don’t need to be at my desk to read and reply to emails or to edit and present documents. Everything is at my fingertips and accessible on multiple devices, including my laptop, phone and iPad. This makes it simple to access important information when I’m travelling, and ensure I’m always prepared for a client meeting.

Setting up Office 365 is quick and simple. This video demonstrates how to set up Office 365 on your Android device and briefly shows you what you can do with the solution.

Skype Meetings

Skype is an amazing app that lets me chat with colleagues anytime, for free! I use Outlook to schedule Skype meetings with just a few clicks, check everyone’s availability, add attachments for the meeting and set up meeting requests to automatically include the phone number and conference ID for everyone to join with.

It is easy to join Skype meetings by clicking the link in my “Outlook event details view,” and even those invited who don’t have Skype for Business can click on the link and join the meeting.

This tool has saved me a significant amount of preparation and scheduling time, particularly with those last-minute meetings. If I’m in a rush or need to discuss something quickly with a colleague, I can choose the “meet now” option, saving the time of emailing or calling the person, discussing a time to meet, finding a meeting room, etc.

Check out the video below to learn how to use this feature:

SharePoint OneDrive Synchronisation

At Bremmar, we often work on shared documents. Each team member is responsible for adding their input and keeping their sections updated, as required. Without SharePoint and OneDrive, we would all end up with different versions of the file – it would be a complete mess! OneDrive and SharePoint sync between each other, and Outlook lets us collaborate on the same file concurrently. We can even see who is currently editing the document.

This video shows how to add attachments to emails from different sources, including SharePoint and OneDrive.

Important to remember: If you have worked on a document recently and want to attach it to an email,  you will see a list of recent documents from the attachment button and you’ll have the option to choose between two versions of the same doc – the one saved in OneDrive (editable) and one saved in your filing system (not editable).

Another useful feature is that if you have a bad internet connection or want to work on your documents during a flight, you can get access your working files through SharePoint OneDrive Sync. While connected to the internet, simply click the sync button in your SharePoint library and all the files within that library will be downloaded to your computer or laptop so you can work on them when offline.

Real-time Chat

A key part of my job is putting together proposals and solutions for clients. In order to do that, I need to ask questions and constantly collaborate with our Technical Client Managers (our client account managers). When I’m working with colleagues on a document, sometimes it’s useful to have a quick chat about what we’re doing. Office 365 makes this easy.

In Word or Excel Online there is a blue chat button. It’s as simple as clicking it to initiate a multi-party conference with anyone else working on the file. In Outlook, I can click the Skype icon to access contacts, search my company directory, and begin a conversation by clicking the call button on a colleague’s contact card.

My favourite chat feature? If I miss a chat message on Skype it sends me an email with the chat history, and I also get notified on my phone. There’s no way I can miss anything.

 

Automated Workflows

Microsoft Flow is a tool that lets me build and automate workflows across multiple services and applications, without needing to engage a developer. To create a flow, I specify the action that should occur after a specific event takes place. Even better, the flows aren’t restricted to Microsoft products only – I can also hook into services like Dropbox, Twitter, Salesforce and MailChimp. For example, when I receive an email from a client, I can have MS Flow automatically save any attachments to Dropbox and send me a push notification. This makes my work routine so much easier!

The workflow options are almost endless and they are super easy to set up. Watch the video below to see how workflows work. You’ll probably get some ideas to add to your daily routine!

Office 365 Groups

Another way I boost my daily productivity is through Office 365 Groups. A group is a set of users who share a virtual workspace in which to collaborate, chat and share documents. Public groups may be joined by anyone within or outside the organisation, while private groups are restricted to selected members only. Private groups can never be made public (and vice versa), so whatever happens in the group, stays in the group!

I use Groups for specific projects and find they are a great way to keep everyone on the same page and across the project’s updates and documents.

OnePlaceMail

Bremmar recently partnered with OnePlace Solutions to enhance the SharePoint and email experience. OnePlaceMail provides an intuitive interface that makes it easy to transfer documents between Outlook and SharePoint. It is easy to drag and drop emails and attachments between the two systems, unlocking important information stored in my individual inbox and making it available to the rest of the team!

OnePlaceMail assists with avoiding file duplication due to multiple people saving the same attachment. If there are two people receiving the same email with an attachment and one saves the attachment, the other person can see that it was saved when they click on the email. See how it all works:

I hope you found these insights useful, but keep in mind they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Office 365’s productivity enhancing features!

If you’d like more advice on how to make your workday run efficiently, just give us a call on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au. One of our team members will be happy to help!

Did you find these insights helpful? Would you like to find out more about Office 365?

Office 365 guide what you need to know!

SkyKick, the Office 365 backup solution your business needs

cloud backupMicrosoft Office 365 is a powerful, cloud based collaboration platform used by many Australian organisations to access company apps and data anytime, anywhere, and on any device. This means that the platform not only makes information available, but also hosts critical data. One of the greatest features of Office 365 is its ability to increase your business’ productivity, but what happens when a file or email message has been deleted from the trash bin and later needs to be restored? Once erased, this data is often gone for good.

Data loss can occur for many reasons, with human error being the primary cause. Three quarters of data loss incidents are the result of accidental deletion. While Microsoft does include a backup strategy for Office 365, the solution may not always provide a full backup alternative or granular recovery options.

Do you know Microsoft’s backup policy?

Microsoft offers protection from any incidents that may happen at its data centres. In other words, they provide protection against system-based failures on their platform. However, their backup policy does not include protection for:

  • Users deleting files in Office 365 by mistake;
  • Employees acting maliciously and purposely destroying company data, or;
  • Files being deleted as result of hacking or unauthorised access to company data.

Microsoft’s geo-redundancy protects against loss due to data centre outages by mirroring information across multiple sites. In the case of loss due to human error, as file deletions, Microsoft offers different policies for apps that are part of Office 365:

  • SharePoint technically has 90 days restoration from site recycle bin.
  • Outlook has a 30-day retention – With your emails, Microsoft gives you more options where you can add a mailbox on legal hold, which requires Exchange plan 2 / E3, and it will ensure all emails are saved up to a maximum size. Even though Microsoft offers some additional protection, it’s a very time-consuming and complex process and possibly requires additional end user expertise to recover lost files.

We recommend investing in a comprehensive Office 365 Cloud Backup solution to safeguard your email, calendar, contacts, SharePoint, and OneDrive data from deliberate or accidental loss. Our solution? SkyKick.

Introducing SkyKick, the Ultimate Office 365 Backup Solution

We recommend SkyKick as the backup solution for Microsoft Office 365. SkyKick is an integrated cloud platform that includes migration, management and backup features. SkyKick’s Cloud Backup solution protects your business by offering a fast and simple way to recover data, giving you total peace of mind and enabling your organisation to remain productive even after critical files have been accidentally deleted.

SkyKick is easy to deploy and manage. It’s hosted on Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure, which also offers additional compliance benefits, and works with native Office 365 features to protect the data in your Exchange email, calendar and contacts, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. With unlimited storage capacity and no installation or complex configuration required, SkyKick is a set-and-forget solution that records up to six snapshots daily, and automatically discovers new users, sites and files that require back up.

Saved data can be located instantly, with fast one-click restore and no file overwrites. File security is also respected, with recovery restricted to permitted users only. Data is retained indefinitely to meet legal and compliance requirements. Restoration is carried out in minutes, or even seconds, compared to six hours or more when using the native Office 365 backup solution.

For a low and fixed monthly charge per user, SkyDrive means you’ll never need to worry about losing critical business data again. It’s the fastest and easiest file backup solution for Microsoft Office 365. You’ll also enjoy 24-hour SkyKick support via email or phone, but if Bremmar is your business IT partner you don’t have to worry. We’ll take care of everything for you!

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If you would like to learn more about how SkyKick can protect your business, simply call Bremmar today on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

What are the key factors influencing CFOs to move to the cloud?

keys factors influencing CFOs to migrate to cloudCloud technology has proven to be extremely beneficial in various ways for businesses. Now, the Finance Department is starting to give this technology a chance and slowly is realising that cloud could be a prime driver of innovation in finance.

SAP Community Network wrote about the topic and presented the key findings of the new Constellation Research report.

How CFOs Are Revealing The Deeper Benefits Of The Cloud

Is your organization still mired in the common myths about cloud adoption? If so, it’s time to bring some clarity to the finance office.

New business realities are shifting the goals of the finance organization and dictating the need for updated operations. Old fears are quickly being replaced by new innovations and opportunities – so more and more CFOs are taking the leap to the cloud.

These new adoptees are revealing cloud technology to be a prime driver of innovation in finance. Consider the new Constellation Research report, which examines the CFO view of cloud finance adoption. It turns numerous myths on their head, revealing the following:

  • Privacy, intellectual property, and data are properly secure
  • Customization is highly achievable
  • We need to move beyond legal and regulatory compliance to meet ever-changing standards

Gaining rapid time to value

So what’s the crucial factor swaying CFOs’ decisions to move to the cloud? The rapid time to value their organizations are poised to gain. According to the report, the top three cloud benefits driving CFO strategy are:

  1. Rapid IT implementation that improves the quality of deployment
  2. More frequent cycles of innovation that yield competitive advantage
  3. Minimal upgrade hassles that free up time for greater focus on innovation

You can also support the identification, assessment, and management of growth across your enterprise – while driving efficiency and agility in finance operations. So much for the quaint notion that cloud was useful only for customer-facing workloads.

With these old myths out of the way, we can make room for more pressing questions for CFOs, like whether their organizations are ready for a broader adoption of the cloud model.

Get a deeper view of both the myths and benefits of cloud ERP when you read the full Constellation Research report.

Originally sourced from: https://blogs.sap.com/2017/03/12/increasing-cloud-adoption-by-cfos-is-shattering-common-myths-and-highlighting-cloud-benefits/

Seven steps to help you plan your Office 365 migration

migration to the cloudA Microsoft Office 365 migration is a major undertaking for any business. Even though your employees will continue to work on familiar applications, they will need to adjust to a new environment.

Change is always scary; however, the rewards for migrating to Office 365 are considerable, from cost savings to greater productivity and higher availability.

A customised migration plan should be developed to make sure your business continues to run smoothly during the migration and after the cutover. For a seamless transition, it’s important to pay close attention to your network, directories and clients before you begin. You should also consider the applications which will be used, as well as the ongoing security and support of the Office 365 environment.

Seven Tips for Successful Office 365 Migration:

1.    Know if your business requires single sign-in (Active directory)

Users should be able to log into Office 365 using their normal credentials and access the same directories from the cloud as when using internal resources. If users require a single sign-on, their active directory must be synchronised with Office 365 during setup, which will require additional servers to function correctly. Bremmar, can do the planning and setup for your business, making sure everything is linked and synchronised. We ensure a seamless migration that avoids minimal impact for your users.

2.    Research cloud services

There are multiple components within the Office 365 suite. These include SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange Online, Yammer, Skype for Business and more. The migration procedure for each service differs in terms of time and complexity.

Microsoft offers several business plans that incorporate a range of these services. Plans include Office 365 Business Essentials, Office 365 Business Premium, Enterprise E1, Enterprise E3 and Enterprise E5. If you don’t know which plan suits your business, or would like to discover the new solutions available in Office 365, such as document management through SharePoint, Bremmar can help.

3.    Check your network

Be prepared. Before beginning your Office 365 migration, check that your network has sufficient bandwidth to run cloud-based software. Also, consider the impact of firewalls and proxies that could potentially block communication between your network and the cloud.

Before you start the migration to Office 365, Bremmar can complete the checks for your business and advise the best option moving forward. We commit to only recommending and delivering the most suitable solutions for your business.

4.    Protect your business

If your business doesn’t have a password policy, you may be using simple and insecure passwords. When you move to Office 365, complex passwords are required and the option of changing the password every 90 days can be set as a default. Office 365 also includes antivirus, anti-spam, encryption and archiving solutions to keep your data safe.

At Bremmar, we recommend protecting your business with SkyKick, a solution that backs up all data from Office 365. While Microsoft does include a backup strategy for Office 365, it doesn’t cover data loss by human error (deleting files).

5.    Equip your team

Even though Office 365 has been designed with a focus on being user-friendly, your employees may also need to be trained on the new services and features. Often people are resistant to change and struggle to embrace it, particularly when they are not confident in using it. We recommend training your staff to understand how to use Office 365.

Our consultants can help with demo sessions or staff training to ensure everyone is up to speed and getting the most out of Office 365.

6.    Determine your Office 365 migration approach

Microsoft offers multiple transition options – Staged Migration, Cutover Migration, Hybrid migrations, IMAP Migration and Remote Move Migration.

At Bremmar, we recommend hybrid migrations as they cause fewer interruptions, and often offer the most seamless approach for all users. However, as our recommendations are based on your current infrastructure and requirements, we’ll evaluate your business and determine the optimum approach for your business’ requirements.

7.    Consider the “what-ifs”

What if you get stuck and encounter technical problems during your migration? Where can you turn for support? It’s ideal to be backed up by specialists who you can call 24×7. With Bremmar, your business will always have a friendly consultant ready to help. So why take risks and do the migration yourself when you can relax and transfer the risk to us?

Is your business ready to move up?

Bremmar can assess your business readiness and recommend the most effective Office 365 migration strategy for your business. We’ll evaluate your infrastructure, flag any system or app incompatibilities and present a customised plan to help your business move up.

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Migrating to Office 365 is a complex task that requires careful planning to ensure a smooth and successful transition. Every organisation is different, and the most effective transition path for your business will depend on the readiness of your infrastructure and the services you intend to use.

To find out more, simply contact us today on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

CIO’s, IS and IT managers: Why you need to develop a clear strategy for migrating to the cloud.

strategy to migrate to cloudMost businesses, not to say all, use the cloud in one way or another. The difference is in which depth they have adopted the cloud and how digital the business is overall. Even though is a known fact that businesses benefit from migrating most of their operations to the cloud, some companies are still hesitant and find the whole migration process overwhelming.

That’s when the CIO plays a crucial role and is responsible for developing a comprehensive plan that evaluates everything, from business processes & workflows to IT operations. IT leaders must have a broader view of the business and properly understand how the cloud initiatives can bring more value and competitive advantage to the business without negatively impacting or disrupting current business performance.

Samuel Greengard writes about the topic in CIO Insight and explains why the cloud migration strategy is so important.

Why a clear, comprehensive cloud strategy is vital

Today’s competitive business environment pushes companies to move more assets into the cloud. Digital technologies demand fast, agile and flexible IT frameworks.

Digital business frameworks demand a fast, agile IT infrastructure. That much is indisputable. But how to reach the promised land of innovation and business disruption is a question that confounds business and IT leaders across industries and entire sectors.

At the center of the equation: “As innovation cycles are compressed and demands on businesses grow, organizations must move beyond legacy and on-premises IT,” states Jack Sepple, senior managing director at business and IT consulting firm Accenture. “The opportunity to advance revolves around the cloud.”

This requires a major shift in thinking. It’s also a journey fraught with challenges, including deciding what applications, services and infrastructure to place in the cloud, and what type of clouds to use for various tasks. Private, hybrid and public clouds have different implications for an enterprise.

“Relatively few companies have the luxury of adopting a greenfield approach, along with cloud-native thinking,” says Ranjit Bawa, U.S. technology cloud leader at Deloitte Consulting. For everyone else, “It’s important to move beyond a piecemeal approach and develop a clear strategy for migrating to the cloud.”

The challenges of migrating to the cloud

Industry studies show that upward of 90 percent of organizations use the cloud in one form or another. But this breadth of adoption doesn’t necessarily reflect a depth of adoption. Some companies have four or five enterprise applications in the cloud, and others have dozens or hundreds.

“Most organizations are moving to the cloud in a somewhat haphazard and chaotic way,” Bawa says. “They are migrating application by application or business product by business product.” The approach is cumbersome, time-consuming and resource intensive. In the end, “Many of these companies find the task overwhelming.”

The challenges of migrating to the cloud aren’t lost on anyone. For many organizations, it’s challenging enough to map business processes and workflows, especially when mainframes and other legacy systems remain in use. But there are also vendor issues to consider, security concerns to address, and overall strategic issues to tackle, including what type of cloud to use.

“It can be a very long and drawn out process, so it’s important to consider how best to make the transition to the cloud,” Bawa explains. In some cases, an enterprise may want to tackle the process incrementally over months or a couple of years. In other instances, it may want to move operations over to the cloud en masse.

A CIO must examine the issue closely and carefully, Accenture’s Sepple advises. A company may still require certain legacy IT systems for internal reasons, or to interact with partners or others in a supply chain. Regulatory issues might also play role in formulating a strategy. Of course, there are also OPEX and CAPEX factors to consider.

“The reality is that almost no organization, other than a cloud-native company, is going to move completely into the cloud anytime soon,” he says. “The most progressive companies at present are perhaps 60 percent to 70 percent of the way into the cloud.”

The cloud is a mature technology

One thing is clear: CIOs and others have become far more comfortable with clouds, including public clouds, over the last few years. There’s a growing recognition that the cloud is more than a way to trim expenses and manage costs effectively. It can deliver strategic and practical gains. Operating faster and better may lead to greater innovation and disruption.

In many cases, cloud providers deliver higher levels of service and better security than many organizations can muster internally. These capabilities, in turn, support initiatives such as DevOps and agile, faster app iterations, and the real-time digital framework that unlocks innovation and ultimately value. Clouds also unlock opportunities to use leading-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning.

“The technology has matured to the point where it’s apparent that the cloud offers a superior solution,” Sepple argues.

Developing a comprehensive plan requires a CIO and other business and IT leaders to examine—and often reexamine—everything from business processes to standards. Sepple says that it’s important to step back and view business and IT operations in a broad and comprehensive way, all while looking for specific ways to unlock value and gain a competitive edge. This may lead an organization closer to software-defined networking or enable the use of APIs that redefine the business or the consumer marketplace.

Deloitte’s Bawa says that CIOs should consider three broad strategic approaches for cloud adoption. The first is to build out a cloud environment in parallel to a current legacy environment, thoroughly test it, and then switch systems over. One Canadian insurance company he worked with recently shifted about 50 percent of its operations to the cloud using this approach, which required about nine months of planning and execution.

A second method, Bawa says, is to identify specific products or services and move all systems associated with them into the cloud. If an organization opts for this approach, he suggests prioritizing different groups of products and services based on complexity, cost and risk.

The third approach involves establishing new products, business lines and operations natively in the cloud, or adopting an M&A-as-a-Service model for mergers and acquisitions.

To be sure, today’s highly competitive business environment is pushing organizations to move more assets into the cloud. Digital tools and technologies demand fast, agile and flexible IT frameworks.

“The cloud is redefining the enterprise,” Bawa says. “It represents a truly efficient operating model. As the pace of innovation accelerates and organizations look to become disruptors, they must find ways to drive change into production on a daily basis.”

Originally sourced from: http://www.cioinsight.com/it-strategy/cloud-virtualization/why-a-clear-comprehensive-cloud-strategy-is-vital.html  

Microsoft Office 365: Your Productivity Solution

o365 Your productivity solutionThe face of business is changing. From remote offices, to flexible working arrangements and staff working from multiple locations, the way teams collaborate and communicate is shifting the way we operate. Gone is the world of individual creation. Businesses need real-time, mobile collaboration and co-creation solutions.

Does this is modern reality seem like a goal that is on the distant horizon? Somewhere that is just too difficult to achieve? It doesn’t have to be!

Microsoft Office 365 has all the tools you need to get the job done and effectively collaborate with your team. It is a new way of using the applications and software your business is familiar with.

From an initial consultation to migration and backup solutions, such as SkyKick, Bremmar can help you use Office 365 to make your work life easier.

What is Office 365?

Using Office 365 is like having your personal office accessible from anywhere, and available on every device. It’s a service that will change the way your business works! Office 365 is delivered through the Cloud, giving you anywhere-access to the tools your business knows and needs. Better still, it can save your business money as it requires a monthly subscription per user, rather than outright license purchases.

You can forget about costly investment in servers and license upgrades with Office 365. The monthly subscription means your team will always be working on the latest software and you don’t have to worry about staff working on different versions. Shift your mind from the old and complicated way you used to purchase applications and software, to a simpler and more effective approach. The game has changed.

With Office 365, you have all Microsoft software and applications you need at your fingertips with a consistent experience across multiple devices.

From security, to collaboration, to business mobility, Office 365 has you covered! It’s the solution to streamlining your work.

Office 365 Basics:

            

Plus, extra productivity tools that make your work easier:

What can I do with Office 365?

How long is a piece of string? It sounds cliché, but the flexibility of Office 365 is where its true beauty lies. You can choose a subscription package based exactly on what your business requirements are.

With Office 365 you are able to:

  • Work from anywhere using your PC, Mac or mobile device;
  • Build employee engagement and bring your business closer by creating an intranet with SharePoint. This will allow you to share news and present key business information to your team;
  • Streamline workflow and increase efficiencies. Utilising SharePoint will allow you to gain access to first class document management, making it straightforward and intuitive for staff to find, access and share important company information – anytime, from anywhere and on any device;
  • Communicate easily and efficiently. Your whole team will be able to access emails, look up contacts and share calendars from wherever they are;
  • Have online conferences that are as effective as if everyone was in the same room. Office 365 allows you to host online conference meetings with real-time note taking, screen sharing and HD video conferencing;
  • Let go of stress about file versions. When you save your files, Office 365 will instantly sync across all devices;
  • Keep your software up-to-date without purchasing new software. This feature is budget friendly, but also ensures your team are all working on the same software versions;
  • Easily read, create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on every device.

… And so much more!

Always up to date, productivity tools from Office 365 can help you:

Protect what you value most

All the compliance features you need, in one place – Office 365 adheres to strict security and compliance requirements. This includes ISO 27018, which is a code of practice that focuses on protection of personal data in the cloud. For compliance reasons, it’s also important to know that all your data will be stored locally in Australia.

Your data secured, and backed up – Microsoft has backup policies in place and will offer protection from any incidents that may happen at its data centres, providing protection against system based failures on their platform.  The service also comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee to keep running for longer.

To give you total peace of mind, your business can customise security policies by user and device.

We recommend SkyKick as the backup solution for Microsoft Office 365. SkyKick is an integrated cloud platform that includes migration, management and backup features. SkyKick’s Cloud Backup solution protects your business by offering a fast and simple way to recover data, giving you total peace of mind and enabling your organisation to remain productive even after critical files have been accidentally deleted. You can read more about SkyKick here.

Access to 24/7 real-time support for critical issues – Including web and phone support available.

Work the way you want to

The flexibility of Office 365 allows you to ensure your team are equipped with the correct, and most powerful tools they need to achieve maximum performance.

All features in Office 365 integrate, and when the productivity applications and services are combined, your employees will be equipped with access to files, emails and conferencing with SharePoint, Skype for Business and Exchange Online no matter where they are.

Office 365 will allow your team to:

  • Work on consistent, familiar and synchronised software across their phone, tablet and desktop;
  • Create and edit documents in real time with colleagues, and;
  • Access all files in one secure, reliable place, with 1TB of cloud storage per user on OneDrive.

Collaborate in Real-Time

Office 365 offers a range of solutions to encourage collaboration between teams and customers via sharing sites, video and private social networking. The Skype for Business component of Office 365 is not just the traditional Skype you may know. It’s a full featured business communication tool that provides features such as video calling, online meetings, online presentations, screen sharing, instant messaging, and a whole range of other functions that are all available from any device of your choosing – mobile, tablet or laptop.

Microsoft Office 365’s collaboration features will your business to:

  • Use SharePoint to create and edit documents in real-time with colleagues and enable seamless document review and approval;
  • Have a secure platform that allows private IMs with approved customers and vendors;
  • Utilise messaging, audio & video calls, online meetings and sharing capabilities with Skype for Business;
  • Send secure, encrypted emails to anyone, and;
  • Automatically re-sync edits to ensure your staff only has access to latest versions.

Why do we recommend migrating to Office 365?

Office 365 is our recommended cloud solution for SMBs. Compared to Google Apps, its main competitor, Office 365 offers a wider range of applications, greater storage capacity, and stronger security for your data. Every modern business needs productivity tools – from emailing to editing documents, analysing data, organising company information and collaborating internally and externally. Moving these functions to a cloud hosted service is a great way to ensure your organisation remains agile and competitive.

Migrating to Office 365 is a complex task that requires careful planning to ensure a smooth and successful cutover. Every organisation is different, and the most effective transition path for your business will depend on the readiness of your infrastructure and the services you intend to use.

Is your business ready to move up?

Our experienced consultants can assess your business readiness and recommend the most suitable Office 365 solution for your requirements.

At Bremmar, we work closely with our clients to ensure a seamless migration to Office 365. We can assist with your readiness assessment, deployment plan, training, implementation and post-cutover support. To find out more, simply contact us today on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

Office 365 guide what you need to know!