3 characteristics that define the modern workplace – Infographic

Today’s diverse and intergenerational workforce is most productive when it has adequate channels to collaborate in a seamless and effective way. There’s a catch, however: teams are far more diverse and remote than ever before, and each organisation requires its own distinct approach to digital collaboration. In other words, your workplace tools and applications must be customised based on your teams’ diversity, location, and work methods.

With this infographic, you’ll learn about the three main characteristics that define our modern workplace and gain insight into what drives productivity and efficiency in today’s organisations. After reading it, you’ll have a better understanding of current trends and can keep these in mind when creating or modifying your organisation’s work environment.

3 characteristics that define the modern workplace infographic

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We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes.

We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working. If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

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Remote working productivity technology

The 4 defining characteristics of effective digital workspaces

Not so long ago, it was believed that for teams to be productive, they required long hours confined in a physical office space with constant face-to-face interaction. To be fair, given the primitive state of digital collaboration tools at the time—which was pretty much limited to emails—there wasn’t really a solid alternative to this scheme, so companies worked with what they had.

Today, digitalization has made it possible for several people to seamlessly work together while being halfway across the world from each other. Exponential advancements in virtual workspaces have not only enabled teams to work as well as they did when they spent all day in the office, but have also proven that people are actually more productive the less they have to deal with alienating cubicles and two-way trips along traffic-congested highways.

Not all digital workspaces have been equally effective, however. Yet decades of iterating and optimizing have finally given us a solid idea of the most important characteristics these spaces must have to reach their full potential.

So what are they? Read this infographic to find out.

The 4 defining characteristics of effective digital workspaces

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We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes.

We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working. If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Get a Free Microsoft 365 Productivity consultation with Bremmar! ???

Remote working productivity technology

Empower your entire organisation with Microsoft Teams – Infographic

You’ve just arrived at the office, booted up your computer or laptop, and filled your first cup of coffee. You sit back down, take a sip, and what do you see? Chances are it’s a login screen. Hastily, you type in your username and password and get on with a productive day.

At least that was the idea, until you remember you forgot to send Karen from HR your vacation request form. You try to reach her by email but to no avail, so you boot up the informal messenger that everyone in the office uses because the legacy messenger set up years ago crashes when you send so much as an emoji. But of course, you once again need to type in your login info, only to see that Janice is not online. So ultimately you end up making two trips to HR (on the first trip, you forgot to staple your vacation balance because the document is stored in a separate internal SharePoint) to finally get your vacation approved.

Ready to throw your computer out a window yet? We don’t blame you. This scenario may seem comical, but it’s a reality that thousands of employees must endure thanks to the lack of a single, unified digital workspace. Preferably one that can be implemented across your entire organisation and serve as a hub for all documents and teams to collaborate, within and across projects.

After reading this infographic, you’ll learn how each department within your business can utilise Microsoft Teams to become more efficient, store documents securely, and collaborate seamlessly with any peer or colleague.

INFOGRAPHIC

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We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes.

We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working. If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Get a Free Microsoft 365 Productivity consultation with Bremmar! 👇👇👇

Remote working productivity technology

Teams vs Zoom comparison – which video conferencing tool should you use and when?

The current situation across the world with COVID-19 has put an emphasis on businesses to be able to communicate and collaborate remotely, most notably for people to be able to see colleagues and clients via video to break up the feeling of isolation. 

As it stands, there are many different products that can achieve this but, naturally, they all have their pro’s and con’s depending on general functionality as well as business use case context. 

As one of Bremmar’s Productivity Consultants, specialising in Microsoft Teams, I thought it would be helpful to compare a few products and share my opinion. Before we continue, I would like to make clear that even though I am a Teams specialist, this article is unbiased, and my intention is to clarify some of the questions that we have been constantly asked by clients 

Here are the products I have compared: 

  • Microsoft Teams 
  • Zoom 
  • Google Meet 
  • Slack 
  • GoToMeeting 

Overall comparison 

Click here to see the full version of the spreadsheet

GoToMeeting 

Using collaboration as my top criteria for comparison, my votes don’t go to GoToMeeting. The product has been compartmentalised, meaning that you can’t get a complete set of functionalities without paying for multiple products or a larger suite that you aren’t likely to utilise – so it’s not cost-effective. See below:  They all have their own pricing and platforms. GoToConnect, for example, is an actual phone system from what I can see so is some weird combination of VC needs and actual calling needs. 

Slack 

Slack, on the other hand, is a great tool and does have the functionality required for good collaboration, however, there is a crucial limitation that makes me cross it off the list – Not being able to have video calls via the mobile app. This is a big downside from my perspective as it limits the ability to maintain the same level of collaboration on the go.  

When evaluating a solution, companies should not only consider the current market situation, which now is working from home, but also think of long-term requirements. At Bremmar, we wouldn’t recommend a solution that has mobile limitations, especially if your business needs to cater its systems for frontline workers.  

Microsoft Teams 

Microsoft Teams is a great platform that integrates heavily with Exchange Online (Emails) and SharePoint Online (Documents in the cloud) alongside other new tools like Power BI for analytics and reporting, PowerApps for business apps and Flow for automation, allowing for a powerful platform to access all your business applications. 

Teams is a platform that delivers much more than just a video conferencing tool with the main benefit of it being included in all Microsoft 365 subscriptions – that’s what I like about itIt is particularly effective in bringing frontline workers into the digital landscape and includes the ability to collaborate online via chat, video calls, online meetings and file sharing, as well as on third-party apps if you have Teams set up to be a central hub for teamwork.   That is why sometimes it is hard to compare apples with apples when talking about Teams vs Zoom as Zoom is purely a video conferencing tool.  

There’s a limited free version for people wishing to try it out and guests can join meetings for free via a web browser, so this makes it a rather quick product to adopt. 

Google Meet 

As of this month, May 2020, Google has made Google Meet available for free for everyone with a G suite account – until September. But you can also use Meets with a personal Google account for free.   Meetings are limited to 60-minute and there’s no recording functionality to save meetings for later. Google Meet is a great program if you have participants that need to call in rather than join via video because Google doesn’t charge an additional call-in fee whereas Zoom does.  

As Zoom and Google Meets are very similar, Bremmar recommends Zoom over Google Meet as it integrates with conferencing equipment to allow a lot more participants to join without having them tap in from individual devices while allowing up to 500 devices to stream the meeting at once. Also, the ability to split up participants mid-meeting into groups and record meetings are more suited to our clients’ needs.  

Ultimately, both Zoom and Google Meet have close to the same features and tools available, which is important for those working from home or in the office.  

Zoom 

Zoom has seen a lot of traction in recent months due to COVID-19 and its main selling point is being able to host massive meetings with the capabilities to have over 40 people visible on video at one time. It’s pretty amazing!  

On top of that, Zoom users have the ability to split up participants midmeeting into groups and simulate a classroom – by having different groups working separately whilst in one video call.  

Only the meeting host has to pay for the product in order to host meetings effectively and anyone can create free accounts to join hosted meetings 

What do we recommend? 

After evaluating our clients’ needs, the features, security and collaboration options of all tools, my preferred options are Microsoft Teams or Zoom. If there’s a need for both tools that’s what I would recommend and below I’ll expand why.

Zoom or Teams…

When to use Teams

It totally depends on the business needs and uses case context  Teams can be applicable from small to large businesses as an internal teamwork hub for the company. It would be more than just a video conferencing tool and your business can enable channels for different departments and teams, files in the cloud and in some cases, even have your landline phone migrated to Teams (like we do at Bremmar)

It can also be expanded as an external toolfor example, for companies that work on projects with external parties. At Bremmar, we use Teams as a collaboration tool with our Marketing agency, so all files, approvals and communications are there – not one email sent!

Industrywise, I feel it again can be applied to any industry but here are some examples from our clients: 

  • Not-for-Profits can use Teams to communicate and collaborate effectively between centres and Head Office, most notably influential for Child Care or Aged Care companies with multiple centres across the country. 
  • Engineering can effectively use Teams to split up projects to self-contain data and tasks whilst also allowing external parties to be invited to collaborate in the same place ensuring data consistency. 

When to use Zoom

Use case for Zoom ties directly into industry use case as well because it has become a platform that is perfect for the Education and Fitness industries, and running classes through it. Both industries need to see more than 4 participants in a video call and need to be able to split the meeting into groups to engage in activities online. Teams doesn’t have that capability 

As a general rule of thumb, what we recommend to our clients that need Zoom’s functionality but also have Microsoft 365 or Teams is to: 

  • Use Teams if having 1:1 meetings 
  • Use Teams if discussing confidential or sensitive matters  
  • Expand on Teams if using it just as a video conferencing tool 
  • Use Zoom if hosting large meetings or conferences 
  • Use Zoom when engaging in activities that require interaction from separate groups 

Security 

Security for both platforms is as important as their use case, especially with current times.

Both platforms allow for a lobby in meetings ensuring that unwanted participants do not join without the hosts approval. Both systems are protected by passwords which is either 2FA via a Microsoft 365 login for Teams or a password directly on the meetings for Zoom. Both platforms are encrypted as well to ensure everything is protected. 

There have been lots of media around Zoom’s security, which is expected, and here’s Bremmar’s view on the topic: 

  • Zoom is a good product and for video conferencing it has more features than Teams right now. 
  • Zoom is campaigning to get their security up to speed. It is likely for this month that there will be more security vulnerabilities but we are confident that Zoom will fix this quickly. 
  • Zoom has fixed a major flaw very quickly which shows they are proactive and on top of the flaws. 
  • Zoom has recently released version 5 which has patched a significant amount of security issues and released a large subset of security features.

Bottom line: 

If Zoom is required as a new video conferencing solution for your business, you can use it. HOWEVER, ensure that the software is up to date and that meetings are private, with passwords for guests to join. If Teams can cover all the required features this is definitely a preferred option. In short, Teams is perfect for any size business which wants to collaborate across multiple applications and people in a single space, whereas Zoom is perfect for those in need of massive training meetings allowing for the simulation of a classroom.

We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes.

We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working. If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Remote working productivity technology

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

Office 365 became Microsoft 365 on April 21. New name, same great value, same price.

Bye-bye Office 365…

From April 21st, Office 365 becomes Microsoft 365. Everything will keep working as it did before but what appears on invoices and quotes will change.

If you’re already an Office 365 subscriber, you don’t need to do anything to start enjoying Microsoft 365. If you are considering getting Office 365, then you’ll only subscribe to its new name: Microsoft 365.

Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, explains the change:

“This is a natural evolution. Microsoft 365 began in 2017 as a licensing bundle for enterprise customers—a combination of Windows, Office, and Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS). It has come a long way since then. Today, we call it “the world’s productivity cloud” and it represents our vision for the future of Microsoft productivity tools—an integrated set of apps and services that puts artificial intelligence (AI) and other cutting-edge innovations to work for you. And for small and medium-sized businesses, that includes new capabilities in Microsoft Teams to help you host rich meetings and events online; cloud file storage and sharing capabilities so you can collaborate from anywhere; and security and identity solutions to safeguard your business. At a moment when businesses are facing extraordinary health and economic challenges, we are pleased to bring our consumer and small and medium-sized business customers into this growing Microsoft 365 family.”

What’s changing?

So what’s happening to the names?

       

What options of Microsoft 365 subscription are available?

What’s included in Microsoft 365 plans:

  • Microsoft 365 Apps for business (formerly Office 365 Business) includes Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access*, Publisher*) and cloud file storage and sharing (OneDrive).
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly Office 365 Business Essentials) includes business-class email (Exchange Online, Outlook), cloud file storage and sharing (OneDrive), and a hub for teamwork with chat and online meetings (Microsoft Teams). Desktop versions of Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint not included.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard (formerly Office 365 Business Premium) includes Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access*, Publisher*), business-class email (Exchange Online, Outlook), cloud file storage and sharing (OneDrive), and a hub for teamwork with chat and online meetings (Microsoft Teams).

  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly Microsoft 365 Business) includes everything in Business Standard plus advanced security and device management capabilities for comprehensive security against cyberthreats. *Access and Publisher on Desktop only

Not on Office 365 or Microsoft 365 yet?

(Becomes Microsoft 365 Business Basic on April 21)

Check out Microsoft 365 remote productivity packages

Let’s embrace this new reality. Get your remote working journey started. ACCESS HERE our info sheet on the technology that will help you manage hassle-free remote working.

  • Teamwork hub in Microsoft 365: The collaboration essentials
  • Move your phone system to the cloud
  • Microsoft Teams training
  • Cloud Document Management in Microsoft 365 – SharePoint
  • Intranet & Team sites
  • Business Processes Automation
  • Security

We’re here to help!

We’re Microsoft Gold Productivity Partners, experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes. We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working.

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. If you need IT assistance, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

Five work from home tips from people who are acing it.

Working fulltime from home is a whole new ball game. We’ve got advice from our people and clients who have been working remotely. These five tips will help you get ready with the right technology, processes and office culture.

This year, most office workers will have to work from home. If you haven’t worked remotely before, it will be an adjustment (and test of your motivation). But, the learning curve doesn’t have to be steep. There are plenty of steps that you can take to ease into working from home. After speaking with our remote people and clients, we compiled advice about the right technology, processes and office culture ideas to ace every day.

1- Look beyond technology

While setting yourself and your co-workers up with access to the right technology is important, we discovered that individual mindset is equally as important. Bonner, from Bremmar, says, “When I first started working from home, I was really struggling until I read that normal routine is important. You need to treat it like a normal day. Which means getting out of your PJs and just doing your normal schedule. It really helps”.

Pro tip: If you have a uniform you might like to wear that (ok you might just put the top on!).  Clients and colleagues can video call you at any time and looking at yourself looking nice in the webcam, also makes you feel good,

If you want to be productive, treat each day as a typical office day. Your usual routine will help you trigger the mental association you usually make with the office. Once you’re in work mode, you’ll be a more effective communicator with your team and more able to use the tools provided to deliver quality work.

2- Choose the right communication tool

At Bremmar, we’ve been using Microsoft Teams in the office and for our remote staff. We couldn’t work without it. While each business will need a different tool to solve unique challenges, communication tools should ensure your team can chat, call, meet or collaborate from anywhere.

Jess, our client from Acacia Living Group, said “the thing I miss most about the office is being able to quickly communicate with colleagues. I sit half a meter from my colleague in the office. I can ask for her opinion and solve problems quickly. Not having her right there has been hard and I feel like I’m less available, too”. In an office environment, it’s easy to rely on a face-to-face communication system but you don’t have that luxury when you go remote.

Over many years of helping businesses, we’ve learnt that when systems work, the team works. A communication tool such as Teams, Slack, Facetime, Google Hangout or Zoom will help your people communicate on most devices, anytime and anywhere they like. With a more connected system, working relationships can be more effective and people will be more productive. It’s a win-win.

Pro tip: If you would like to take the next step, a cloud document management solution is also key. At Bremmar, we use SharePoint and our entire team has access to all files from any device and have access to cool features, such as working on the same document at the same time, being able to access versioning control, etc.

3- Get the right hardware and software

Making sure you can access all information securely and easily will help you work effectively. “I love my second screen. When I first started working from home, I worked four days without it and it was tough. Plus, Bremmar has just set up a new Hosted Citrix System which has been great. I had to work in our old system for six days and I was tearing my hair out. It’s been really helpful” said Jess.

You’re likely to experience some delays as you get used to working from home. It’s essential to spend time setting up properly because it will pay productivity dividends in the long run. For employers, a cloud system is a great option. It gives all staff remote access to their desktop anywhere in the world while offering the highest levels of protection for your business. Remember, if your team can’t access the right information, they can’t work.

Pro-tip: We have put together a list of basic remote working and collaboration packages we recommend – check it out here!

Hardware is just as important. The main items are comfy chair (a must!), an extra monitor to your laptop, headsets, a proper mouse and a keyboard if working from a small laptop.

5- Be patient and proactive

When asked about remote collaboration, Sam from Bremmar said “we are collaborating well but the work doesn’t flow as quickly because you have to make a call, send a message or email – and then wait for a response. But we are adapting”. Working from afar on the same projects can be hard. People can be left out of the loop, miss important information or not know when team members are taking lunch or on another call. This can quickly cause frustration and dissatisfaction about work and each other.

The Bremmar team is starting to implement simple solutions that work. “We’re trying to have more online video meetings, which helps. We’re also training ourselves to connect. Everyone needs to remember to check in with each other, especially when people are working in a team or there’s overlap on a task” said Sam. Bonner reinforces that visibility to colleagues’ schedule is key, “what’s been really good is that we have the policy to let line managers know when we’re having lunch by logging on or off Microsoft Teams. It means the person who is taking a break can enjoy it and other team members know why they’re unavailable”.

Each team has its own challenges. However, a quick morning W.I.P. (work in progress) meeting, a daily sign-off meeting or a virtual lunch hour together can help your teamwork cohesively and share the workload. Try to use video calls instead of phone calls. It helps everyone to connect properly, openly share tensions, and solve problems quickly.

6- Don’t forget culture

Sam is an advocate of remote team-building initiatives. “I love the idea of remote video happy hour! Quarantini, anyone?

I don’t want to lose touch with the people who are in our business. When you’re working remotely it’s so easy to just see people as the role they perform, instead of who they are” said Sam. A strong team culture will ensure your team can work together cohesively from all corners of the world. Plus, culture helps people understand where their job fits in larger company picture, which supports individual purpose and accountability. It fosters open communication and social chatter, both are important for employee and business well-being.

Pro-tip: Bremmar keeps having its Friday after-work drinks. We send a Teams invite to all staff, at 5pm everyone connects, and we have a beer and a laugh together! Partners and kids are also invited, and we plan some activities. Last week we celebrated Harmony Week by wearing something from the country staff are from, like a t-shirt or a hat. It was a complete success!

Want to build culture? Here’s some advice from our remote staff and clients.

“Just keep in touch. For employees and employers, it’s all about open communication” – Sam

“Trust that your employees are going to be working. If the work is getting done even if it’s from the couch, provided it’s safe, it shouldn’t really matter” – Bonner

“Do a test day if you can. See how the systems and communication channels will cope. Getting everyone set-up properly will really help them to connect” – Jess.

We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes. We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working.

If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Remote working productivity technology

Bremmar Security Alert: Zoom Security Flaw!

 

The increased popularity of the video conferencing tool called Zoom has put the software in the media spotlight.

We would like to communicate that security experts have raised a warning about a security flaw in the system that can pose a risk to your business and personal information. Keys issues are:

1- Your system security can be compromised by malicious links that are shared in Zoom meetings. This means that if you are in a video meeting and someone shares a malicious link in the chat, that link when clicked can possibly give attackers unauthorised access to your system.

2- Open public meetings with no password or participant control. This means that anyone that finds your meeting can join the meeting and share/post any content they would like, including the malicious links mentioned above. 

WHAT TO DO?

Bremmar recommends that companies evaluate their ongoing usage of Zoom until this flaw has been resolved. However, if you continue to use Zoom, please ensure that all your staff considers these measures:

1- If you are part of a meeting, don’t click on links that you don’t know or understand, especially if you don’t know the person who has sent it.

2- If participating in an open meeting that doesn’t require a password or asks the “owner” of the meeting to approve your participation, don’t click any links! You don’t know everyone that is part of the meeting so be extra vigilant.

3- Never create open public meetings. Always create meetings that require a password or that you have to approve for the participants to join in.

EDUCATE YOUR STAFF

Bremmar kindly asks you to educate all of your staff on this issue. Security systems are in place, however, the main tool against this specific issue is employee education and awareness.

For more details, please read the below:

https://www.tomsguide.com/news/zoom-security-privacy-woes

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/windows-flaw-lets-zoom-leak-network-credentials-runs-code-remotely-545883

At Bremmar, we use and recommend Microsoft Teams as a teamwork hub and video conferencing tool. If you would like to explore this option, please contact your ISM or help@bremmar.com.au.

If you believe you have clicked a malicious link, please contact your Bremmar support team for further assistance asap!

Phone: 1300 667 167
Email: support@bremmar.com.au

We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. Bremmar is a Microsoft Gold Cloud Productivity partner with more than 10 years’ experience in a range of Microsoft solutions. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes. We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working.

If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or fill in the form below.

Remote working productivity technology

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

High Priority Alert from Stay Smart Online – New phishing scams and phishing emails relating to covid-19 to be aware of.

Today, Stay Smart Online, a community of more than 80,000 individuals and organisations committed to sharing online safety information, and part of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, shared a high priority alert about new scams and phishing emails being sent to Australians around covid-19.

The number of scams has increased significantly from January until now, and we recommend that you keep an eye out and inform your staff. During these times of uncertainty, people may be more vulnerable to these attacks so it’s very important to stay extra vigilant.

Below is the alert published by Stay Smart Online:

What’s happened?

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of a significant increase in Australians being targeted with COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails. In the last three months, the ACSC and the Australian Competition and the Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch have received over 140 reports from individuals and businesses across Australia. These phishing emails are often sophisticated, preying on people’s desire for information and imitating trusted and well-known organisations or government agencies. Clicking on these malicious links or visiting fake websites may automatically install computer viruses or malware and ransomware onto your device, giving cyber criminals the ability to steal your financial and personal information. These scams are likely to increase over the coming weeks and months and the ACSC strongly encourages organisations and individuals to remain alert. Here are some examples of what to look out for now:

Example 1: SMS phishing scam messages offering where to get tested for COVID-19 or how to protect yourself

In these examples, the SMS appears to come from ‘GOV’ or ‘GMAIL’, with a malicious link to find out where to get tested in your local area. Scamwatch and the ACSC is also aware of a SMS scam using the sender identification of ‘myGov.’ These scam messages are appearing in the same conversation threads as previous official SMS messages you may have received from myGov.

Example 2: COVID-19 phishing email impersonating Australia Post to steal personal information

Under the pretence of providing advice about travelling to countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19, this phishing email aims to trick you into visiting a website that will steal your personal and financial information. Once they have your personal information, the scammers can open bank accounts or credit cards in your name, often using these stolen funds to purchase luxury items or transfer the money into untraceable crypto-currencies such as bitcoin.

Example 3: Phishing emails pretending to be an international health sector organisation

This is an example of one COVID-19 themed phishing email where the sender is pretending to be a well-known international health organisation. The email prompts you to click on the web link to access information about new cases of the virus in your local area, or to open an attachment for advice on safety measures to prevent the spread.

Example 4: Phishing emails containing malicious attachments

In this example, the phishing email is pretending to be from the World Health Organization and prompts you to open an attachment for advice on safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When opened, the attached file contains malicious software that automatically downloads onto your device, providing the scammer with ongoing access to your device.

Example 5: COVID-19 relief payment scam

Scammers are also sending phishing emails targeting an increasing number of Australians that are seeking to work from home, wanting to help with relief efforts or requiring financial assistance if they find themselves out of work. In this example, the email offers recipients $2,500 in ‘COVID-19 assistance’ payments if they complete an attached application form. Opening the attachment may download malicious software onto your device.

How do I stay safe?

The ACSC has produced a detailed report, including practical cyber security advice that organisations and individuals can follow to reduce the risk of harm. You can read the report and protect yourself by following these simple steps:

  • Read the message carefully, and look for anything that isn’t quite right, such as tracking numbers, names, attachment names, sender, message subject and hyperlinks.
  • If unsure, call the organisation on their official number, as it appears on their website and double-check the details or confirm that the request is legitimate. Do not contact the phone number or email address contained in the message, as this most likely belongs to the scammer.
  • Use sources such as the organisation’s mobile phone app, web site or social media page to verify the message. Often large organisations, like Australia Post, will have scam alert pages on their websites, with details of current known scams using their branding, to watch out for.

If you’ve received one of these messages and you’ve clicked on the link, or you’re concerned your personal details have been compromised, contact your financial institution immediately.

More information

  • If you’ve suffered financial loss from cybercrime, report it to ReportCyber at cyber.gov.au/report
  • Visit cyber.gov.au for advice to help businesses stay secure from cyber threats while managing a remote workforce.
  • To stay up-to-date on the latest online threats and how to respond, sign up to the Stay Smart Online Alert Service
  • More advice and support is available on our Get Help page.
  • For information on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit health.gov.au  

Originally sourced from: https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/alert-service/widespread-reports-covid-19-malicious-scams-being-sent-australians

How we can help?

As technology evolves, software and security vendors keep developing and strengthening their systems. But it’s not all about technology these days. Security has shifted from a purely technical to also a behavioral concern. We’re talking about your staff and policies, which play a crucial role in the success or failure of your IT protection efforts.

Attackers are using smarter methods of targeting your business, focusing on the human factor as a key point of vulnerability. There’s no point investing in the best possible technology if the first point of access, your people, are not ready to also protect your business information. Staff education is key.

If your staff is working from home, setting up secure remote working takes time, there are a few questions your business should be asking:

  • Are personal devices used meeting performance specifications and security standards?
  • How are you keeping control over staff and devices once they are outside your network?
  • What are the minimum security requirements staff should have in their personal devices not to jeopardise your business?
Some of the security essentials you need:
  • Multi-factor authentication – MFA
  • Hard drive encryption
  • Mobile device management and remote wipe capability
  • Antivirus

Let us know if you are working remotely and we can help by performing a security assessment of your Microsoft 365, including your business secure score analysis or can review your business security posture to ensure you have the right measures in place to protect your organisation and staff.

We’re committed to helping businesses to work smarter and securely so if we can help, we will. Contact us on 1300 991 351 or fill in the form below and one of our consultants will get back in touch with you.

Remote working productivity technology

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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Microsoft Teams: Your one-stop-shop for communication and collaboration

Microsoft Teams started off by being a chat-based workspace in Office 365 that helps bring people, conversations and content together. Released in March 2017, Teams has quickly established itself as one of the most popular business collaboration tools, already used by 200,000 organisations across 181 markets. Teams enable individuals to join communities and groups via a URL or invitation sent by the team administrator.

Within a team, members can create conversation channels to communicate instantly with a group, or privately with a specific user, without the need for email or SMS. Users may post text, images, documents or video content. Teams also support phone calls and video conferencing over VoIP and PSTN. The platform integrates closely with Office 365 and is built upon the Groups Framework.

When you create a team, the system automatically creates an Office 365 Group with Office Online, SharePoint Team Site, Planner, OneNote and Skype for Business. A navigation bar on the left-hand side of Teams displays tabs for Activity, Chat, Teams, Messages and Files, where users can browse between each of these applications using the tabs. There’s also the option of directly opening other Office 365 apps from there, such as OneNote, Planner and Stream, to name a few. For example, you could create a tab for a particular MS Word business proposal and then conduct conversations with others within that tab while working together to co-edit the document directly through your browser. The activity dashboard shows a Yammer or Facebook-style feed of activities occurring across your organisation, with events highlighted in red if your name is mentioned directly. The Chat tab displays direct messages with colleagues, similar to messages on Skype.

The Teams section allows you to have a range of tabs depending on the purpose of the team. For example, if creating a team to work on a specific project, the user might create a conversations tab, a Planner tab, a OneNote tab, an Outlook calendar and so on.  Every Teams section comes with a Files tab, which is synced to SharePoint and OneDrive, and with a conversations tab, where you and communicate with everyone in the team and tag users in specific messages as you go.

Teams can be used internally or externally. At Bremmar, we use it for both purposes. For example, our Sales and Marketing departments have a joint Teams section, where they collaborate on projects and communications. At the same time, our Marketing department collaborates with our external Marketing agency through a team specifically built for that purpose. There are no emails exchanged, all files, communications and work in progress is done through MS Teams.

Teams competes directly with Slack, another popular cloud-based collaboration suite. Teams looks and feels similar to Slack, but includes additional features and functionality. Slack is widely adopted in companies that aren’t closely tied to Microsoft, but for organisations that have already deployed Office 365 it makes more sense to use Teams due to the tight integration.

Administration, Security and Compliance

Microsoft Teams complies with ISO 27001 ISO 27018, SSAE16 SOC 1 and SOC 2, HIPAA, EUMC and CSA regulations. Messages and files are encrypted at rest and in transit, and Teams also allows two-factor authentication. Additionally, Teams offers robust administrator control in conjunction with the Office 365 Admin Center. Administrators have the ability to:

  • Enable or disable Microsoft Teams for the organisation
  • Enable or disable video and screen sharing
  • Enable or disable support for tabs from Microsoft partners
  • Determine how user profiles are configured and displayed
  • Choose which content to allow (text, images, memes, stickers)
  • Plus lots more

Future Enhancements

Microsoft continues to develop the Teams platform, with new features being released on a regular basis. One upcoming feature is cloud recording, which will enable one-click recording of meetings with automatic transcription and facial recognition, allowing users to search for text, or for individuals participating in the meeting, and then jump directly to that section. Other interesting future features include inline language translation (for team members who speak different languages), and background blur on video (to place the focus on participants rather than distracting background activity).

Summary

Teams provides a streamlined, user-friendly environment for groups to collaborate and share ideas under one platform. It includes a wide range of productivity-enhancing tools that allow your employees to perform their role more effectively, from any device, whether they’re at home or in the office. To learn more about how Microsoft Teams can benefit your business, call Bremmar today on 1300-991-351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

Remote working productivity technology  

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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Keep your employees engaged with Microsoft Teams

Meet Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace that allows teams to work together within one app, or hub, to enhance collaboration and teamwork. Available at no additional cost to commercial Office 365 customers with Enterprise or Business plans, MS Teams combines people, conversations, content, files and other apps to create an open, digital environment that enables users to collaborate more effectively. It was designed as a competitor to online collaboration tools like Slack and Atlassian HipChat.

What can you actually do with Teams?

Acting as a digital hub, MS Teams gives Office 365 users a space to integrate and use a range of tools and apps when working on a specific project or job involving different departments.  Within one window, groups of users can be updated and be across a specific job or project as well as engage in chat conversations, upload files and share meeting notes. Here is where a team working on a project, a department sharing information or those involved in a specific topic will collaborate and be able to work more effectively.

  • View calendars and meetings from Outlook
  • Create, share, edit and find content from SharePoint, OneDrive and OneNote
  • Call, instant message and meet team members via Skype
  • Chat via Teams and use @ to tag a specific user
  • Receive notifications
  • Integrate planner and have objectives, goals and checklists

 

Key benefits of Teams

  • One centralised hub that combines people, conversations, content, files and other apps
  • Integration with SharePoint, OneDrive, OneNote, Planner, Skype and Microsoft Office
  • Enterprise security & compliance
  • Azure Active Directory integration
  • No extra cost to Office 365 users with Enterprise or Business plans
  • Easy to use and fun!

 

Using Teams! Here’s where your groups, specific projects and members will live!

MS Teams provides a workflow hub built upon Office 365 Groups, this means that when you add a new Team, the system automatically creates an Office 365 Group and a Site Collection on SharePoint. The app offers complete integration with other applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint and Planner and makes it easy for team members to switch seamlessly between collaboration tools.

Creating your Teams

I know! By now you must be pretty excited and ready to use this, but hold your horses! Before you start collaborating, you need to create a team! Easy to do…Just click on the “+ Add team” on the left-hand corner.

Creating your Channels

Ok, now you can start! Under each Team you can have as many Channels as you want, for example, at Bremmar we have a Sales and Marketing Team and the different channels are campaigns, general, events, etc. This is to cater for groups that work together on different projects that relate back to a main topic or initiative.  

Learn your Tabs

Each Channel will come with a set of default tabs: Conversation, Files and Notes.   You can then add extras, such as Word, Excel, Planner, Wiki, etc. This will depend on how easy you want to access different apps and information from Teams.  

 Start the Conversation!

Teams supports persistent threaded chats to keep team members engaged, with Skype integration so members can easily participate in voice or video conferencing. Conversations are visible to the entire team by default or can be made private, and team members can personalise the experience using rich formatting, custom memes, GIFs, stickers and emojis. The handy Teams activity feed keeps users updated on any conversations in which they’ve been mentioned. Users can also use the “@”, same as in common social media platforms, to tag someone in a comment or post.

Manage your Files

Delete, download, move files, open, copy, edit or get a link to share with others – have access to all the key features you would get in the native apps. Want to start a group chat while working on a file? Yes, that’s also possible and you will see the conversation thread on the Conversation tab.

Share your Notes

Notes that you take within OneNote can be shared in this tab. Your team will also have a shared OneNote area, where you can view, edit and create notes.

The app!

If your business has Office 365 Enterprise or Business plans you will have Teams included in your Office 365 for free. If you don’t, it’s something that can be easily added as an extra to your package. To use Teams you can either download the desktop application, access Teams through your browser or download the mobile app. Enjoy!

Most frequently asked questions – Let’s help you out!

1-     I already use Slack. What’s the difference between MS Teams and Slack?

Although MS Teams and Slack appear similar at first glance, they do address different markets. MS Teams excels in an environment where all team members are part of the same organisation (Office 365 does not currently allow external parties to participate in a team). On the other hand, Slack is perfect for freelancers and small businesses where it’s important to grant access to individuals outside the organisation. Slack’s greatest asset is its simplicity – users can sign up and start chatting very quickly with no learning curve. Teams is a more comprehensive solution, with many powerful features and full Office 365 integration, although the learning curve is steeper.

2-     I already use Yammer. What’s the difference between MS Teams and Yammer?

When MS Teams was released, there were rumours that it would replace Microsoft Yammer. However while Teams does include similar features to Yammer, its usage is quite different. Yammer is aimed towards larger groups – it acts like a bulletin board or Facebook newsfeed where users can chat and post links, files and status updates. Teams is more about ad-hoc free-ranging discussions between smaller groups of people who share goals and deadlines.

3-     Does Teams work with external parties and non-employees?

Unfortunately not yet. Teams is currently targeted at groups within the same organisation. However, this suggestion is already under work by Microsoft.

4-     Is it safe? What’s the security measures applied to Teams?

Microsoft Teams also provides the enterprise security and compliance features we’ve come to expect from Office 365, including data encryption, multi-factor authentication, e-Discovery, and ISO 27001, SOC 2 and HIPAA support.

Remote working productivity technology

MS Teams is a powerful solution that helps any type of teams to work together and share information more effectively. To discover how Teams can enhance your organisation’s productivity, contact Bremmar today on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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