90% of companies in the Fortune 500 list trust their businesses to be on the Microsoft Cloud, and there are now over 120 million Office users around the world. The business sector is largely becoming a cloud-first, mobile-first environment, and smaller businesses and start-ups will likely be seeing the benefits of this quicker than others.
If you’re in the process of expanding your organisation and building your network, there are some key things to consider for the future of your business. With expansion, you should ensure that you have tight security and reliable support across your organisation. A flexible work settings for your employees and collaborators will strengthen your network and open new doors; and keeping a weather eye on the future of your business ensures you make better decisions in the present.
What to think about when looking ahead
You might think that big businesses are the main target for cyber-attacks, but smaller businesses are just as much at risk, and a breech could prove a huge set back. There are multiple forms a security breach could take.
A user’s identity is the easiest way for a hacker to find their way into an organisation. It may be easy to obtain a user’s login details when the information is shared to an affiliated website that is not protected. Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) employs secure single sign-on, allowing you to set up a common identity which is never shared with external sources, and is protected with Azure Active Directory’s Identity Protection. Multi-factor authentication is also included, adding extra dimensions of security to a log-in. Another benefit to this feature is that you will not get password fatigue from trying to remember multiple login combinations.
More direct threats, or advanced persistent threats, are harder to avoid by simply employing effective sign-in and authentication practices. Such attacks are coordinated and designed to go unnoticed. However, EMS includes the Azure Active Directory, which has built in behavioural analytics, and advanced threat detection functionalities. Now say a harmful app is detected on a user’s device. With EMS’s usage control and app management, you could block the harmful app in question on all company devices. Microsoft Enterprise Mobility and Security also allows organisations to put in place controls on data and usage. This means content on company devices are encrypted for protection.
Your start up is expanding, and you’re hiring new employees and gaining collaborators. But perhaps your collaborators are based in different cities. Maybe they have responsibilities that make conventional office work impossible. Mobility is the name of the game, and with cloud services, laptops, and mobile devices, your business can become nationwide, or even global, quicker than ever. With Microsoft EMS you can virtualise your desktop, which can enhance security and flexibility, while reducing costs.
Remote working may be an integral part of your business, or simply necessary to accommodate certain collaborators.
Say you are extending your network of collaborators overseas. Do you need to go to their country to induct them into your organisation? Do they need to come to you? With the Microsoft EMS package you can remotely enrol their devices, giving them access to company resources such as email. You can deploy necessary software and applications, and share company data, using Microsoft Cloud services. These capabilities provide supreme flexibility for your business and makes expansion easier, as well as heightened security with Azure.
Running a smaller business oftentimes means learning a new skill every week – but you should always have dedicated IT support. They say a jack of all trades is better than a master of one … this is not the case when it comes to IT!
Having a go-to employee for IT services may prove too expensive for a younger business. Plus, even if you can hire an IT specialist, there’s always a small chance that you’ll hire a Roy, rather than a Moss…
Rather than hiring an in-house IT professional, many businesses use Managed Services providers (MSP), outsourcing their IT support to dedicated businesses under a subscription model to guarantee anytime support. Alternative to on-demand services, with an MSP you always know what you’re paying and can rest easy knowing you’ll always get the help you need.
MSP generally provide a package of services with a range of features. For example, at TechQuarters, the Full IT Support package includes unlimited calls, and on-site call-outs, 24/7 server and network monitoring, service reports and technological advice, all for a fixed-monthly fee. As well as IT support packages, Managed Services providers can provide other services, such as automatic off-site data backup, or advanced security services.
4: The Future
The very nature of investing in something means you must think about how useful it will be to you in the future. Whether a product you bought will become outdated in a year, or the service you subscribe to will no longer be as useful after 6 months. In this case, it is very useful to be able to tailor payments to match your usage. You wouldn’t want to be a year’s subscription of something and end up only using it for 6 months!
A great way to avoid this is with subscription options. This is very commonplace among companies that provide various Cloud services. -for example, Adobe Creative Cloud, LinkedIn, and of course, Office 365. Microsoft even offers this option for equipment. Surface as a Service offers business customers Surface devices, managed cloud services and customer support with a monthly subscription. Free upgrades and updates are very common with these types of subscriptions as well.