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3 Steps to avoid being targeted by phishing scams

Businesses are seeing an increase in the number of malicious emails being received on a daily basis, with it being estimated that nearly half of all emails received are now spam. Email is an effective method of cyber attackers reaching your end users and infecting your network with ransomware.

How do phishing scams work?

Phishing scams work by posing as legitim

ate emails from colleagues, clients or other “trusted” senders but often contain a link or attachment containing a virus. Once clicked, this can give the attackers access to your network, at which point they can do things like start to encrypt files before demanding a ransom to recover them. In fact, 93% of phishing emails contain encryption ransomware. This can be a huge issue, both in terms of security and data protection, and financially. So how can you protect your end users and internal infrastructure and help to avoid being targeted by phishing scams?

3 Steps to Phishing Freedom!!

1. Increased employee awareness

Education is one of the most important things that you can do to help avoid falling target to phishing scams. Describing the things to look out for in suspicious emails that may appear normal and unsuspicious could save your users from clicking on the links or attachments that would otherwise give access to the attackers.

2. Change employee behaviour

Increased awareness for your users will help them to check before clicking on attachments or links that they are not expecting. Changing this behaviour is one of the biggest ways to prevent cyber-attacks through phishing scams.

3. Utilise PhishMe with Systems Assurance Ltd

This is where the PhishMe Simulator comes in. By replicated real-life phishing scenarios, it can provide you with experience receiving this type of email and then you can educate them accordingly and help them to spot the emails… without the risk! Scenarios range from ransomware emails, to BEC (Business Email Compromise), spear phishing, social engineering, drive-by attacks, advanced conversational phishing attacks and malware and malicious attachments. This is an effective and unbiased way to address where there are weaknesses and deliver greater training where needed.

What could Phishing Mitigation Managed Services bring to your business?

Systems Assurance offers Phishing Mitigation Services to their customers to reduce their susceptibility to phishing attacks by over 95% through simulations and training. This can also highlight weaker areas that can then be addressed.

At the same time, Systems Assurance can provide any security, disaster recovery planning and backup strategies so that you can protect your users should they fall victim to a particularly convincing scam.

Get in touch with Systems Assurance today to find out more on 0114 292 2911 or consult@systemsassurance.com

Corporate Email in the cloud?

Microsoft have just released their new Business Productivity Online Suite. A suite of tools to manage your enterprise communications. Lets put Ms Office web aside for a second. (surely everyone knows Google Docs is a no-brainer for the entry level and possibly mid-user, but spice it up a bit, add some clever stuff and Google’s Apps struggle) and look at your corporate email solution.
Pretty much nothing gets noticed more than user email down for more than a few seconds, the irate calls follow and then that long walk to the boardroom!
Have Google got a serious proposition I hear you ask…well actually yes they have!
Take a look at the article, its about the CIO of a company called Sanmina-SCI Corp based in the US. He migrated 16,000 users from Exchange to Google Cloud services and happily discusses what he learned from the whole experience.
Systems Assurance have recently become an Authorised Google Apps reseller and Ms Cloud Services reseller. We have both companies doing their best to convert us to their side…its quite amusing…
We also have customers loyal to both sides each with their reservations. I’m sure posts will appear here as the two sides advance and the plots thickens!

What is Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)?

The Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) is a set of messaging and collaboration tools, delivered as an easy to budget for subscription service, that helps your employees better serve your customers without the need to deploy and maintain software and hardware on-premise.

Exchange Online is designed for organisations who want to get the benefits of cloud-based email without sacrificing the business-class capabilities that Exchange Server has been providing for decades. 

SharePoint Online brings together the familiar SharePoint Server technology now delivered as an online service. SharePoint Online helps businesses create sites to share documents and insights with colleagues, partners and customers.

Office Live Meeting is an enterprise-class web conferencing service that allows companies to engage with their customers through real-time meetings, training sessions and events presented over the internet.

Office Communications Online is a robust instant messaging and presence functionality enabling real-time person-to-person communication via text, voice and video, across your organisation.  

If you are one step ahead, and have already recognised what Online Services can do for your business, contact us to purchase your BPOS subscription today.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Windows 10 – First look and thoughts

It seems like Microsoft with Windows 10 are finally recognising that desktop computing is still alive and kicking; similarities to the Windows 7 desktop have been resurrected with some great improvements.

However users aren’t going to adopt the new operating system just because they’ve brought features back from 10 years ago!! They’re trying to appeal to everyone and really there are only two key types of buyers that lead the majority of Microsoft business customers; After all, win business over and the rest will follow…

Back in March 2014 Windows 8 & 8.1 had a combined market share of 10.7%, compared to Windows 7 with just over 47%. IT Managers decide which operating systems get deployed to their users, not users; something I think Microsoft sometimes forget. Great looking GUI’s with glorious store fronts and Apps aren’t going to attract an IT Manager that is responsible for hundreds of users. Likewise, Managing Directors and Finance Directors aren’t exactly impressed with the freedom of information being blasted straight to their employees desktops.

‘Windows 10 needs to get back to basics, doing the core stuff fast, securely and easily. ‘

Many of our customers were forced to Windows 7 from XP, customers are now being forced from 7 to 8.0 and 8.1. Don’t push us…if we feel the product is right (and trust me, every tech in the land is wanting their grubby little hands on it to see if it makes the grade) then we’ll push our companies towards it.

We want to know what the advantages are for two key types of people:

1. IT staff rolling out the deployments

2. Directors who want to improve the efficiency of their staff.

Everyone else can just get in line!

If you want a sneak preview and beta testing copies then visit the Microsoft Blog.

Have you considered using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Quick Start services?

CRM systems can help you manage customer data more effectively. If you’re looking for the best fit for your customer information systems, we would recommend Microsoft Dynamics CRM for a number of reasons.

Why Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is growing in popularity amongst businesses throughout different sectors. It helps companies to manage their customer data and balance their internal resources with external demands. It offers simplification of processes and data to create seamless data management which allows businesses to provide the best possible customer service, whilst also running their business more easily. It could help your to manage your data more efficiently, optimise your operations, transform products and engage your customers more. This is a great option, especially if you are doing a network overhaul and assessing internal requirements.

What does Quick Start offer?

We know that it can be a time-consuming process to completely change your systems to ensure that you are working efficiently and all data remains stored in the correct secure and accessible places. The Quick Start Service provides the basic implementation for you, following a number of steps including assessing Business Readiness, Infrastructure Readiness, completing a Data Import Assessment before the basic install, configuration and training.

Training and customer support

It is important to be able to continue to support your users’ requirements, which is why Systems Assurance also offers training, so that you can understand and maintain the CRM once setup. It also helps you see where there is potential for growth within the system as the company grows, and more detailed information about the configuration requirements. Each setup includes customers deciding levels of access and security for different information, which will be unique to each business yet fundamental for legal data security requirements.

Getting started

The initial setup can take between 3 to 5 days, and this purely depends on your users’ requirements and current network complexity. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can also be set up according to exact needs and an environment created to enable you to work seamlessly.

Find out more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM Quick Start Services by giving Systems Assurance a call today on 0114 292 29111 or Email us: consult@systemsassurance.com

Everyone should be using Azure

Cloud computing is becoming the norm in many companies, so this is an ideal time to make you aware of the extensive experience within our team for implementing, migrating and maintaining Microsoft Azure solutions for our customers. Some recent projects we have been involved in:-

INTERNET CONSUMER BUSINESS MERGER – PROJECT: AD AND EMAIL CONVERGENCE

Two large Internet based organisations merged with an aggressive deadline for co-existence and a merged company comprising 7000 users.

The project initially involved providing guidance for “day one” co-existence for the merged company to provide shared access to resources and a common email platform with unified email address space and a single Global Address list. This was successfully implemented on the day one go-live date of the merged organisation, with less than two weeks planning.

The project has now moved on to strategic planning, with a 100 day timeline for proper migration of the two organisations’ Active Directory and Exchange/Office 365 environments into a single converged environment conforming to Microsoft’s “Cloud First” principle for migration.

Technologies used: Active Directory, Exchange, Office 365, Okta IDaaS

Roles: Technical Consultant, Strategic Planning


CONSTRUCTION COMPANY – PROJECT: MICROSOFT AZURE MIGRATION

The customer was maintaining and supporting a large amount of outdated hardware in both the server and storage areas. The organisation supported over 1000 users populated in both offices containing their data centre as well as remote site locations.

The purpose of the project was to analyse requirements and propose an end-point for workloads that required migration, and to then carry out the appropriate migrations. The customer was keen to explore the benefits of moving workloads to cloud services whilst still retaining a number of on-premise systems that were not themselves out of date.

A design was created that delivered a solution moving email services to a hybrid Office 365 environment, created Azure IaaS servers to host a number of infrastructure services, and created an Azure PaaS environment hosting web and database services to be used as a development environment. Delivery of this design was then implemented by working with appropriately skilled teams using both internal and external resource.

Technologies used: Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Windows Server, Active Directory, Office 365

Roles: Architecture/Design, Implementation Planning, Technical Project Management

MANUFACTURING ORGANISATION – PROJECT: DATA CENTRE MODERNISATION PLANNING

The customer maintained thousands of Windows Server 2003 workloads past the end of life support date for this operating system.

The initial project was aimed at analysing and documenting all workloads still running on Windows 2003, and providing an analysis of suitable target systems for these services utilising either Microsoft Azure or on-premise deployment of Windows 2012 R2, or a combination of both.

Refresh IT’s “Refresh Insight Servers and Applications” (RIS&A) software was used to collect and collate this information, with detailed reports being provided to the customer outlining the server infrastructure, the applications infrastructure, and providing all possible target environment information. The level of detail provided allowed exact Azure sizing in terms of both IaaS and PaaS models, as well as options for upgrading to new on-premise servers. Applications compatibility for moving the customer’s apps to modern platforms was also analysed, allowing the customer to cost exactly all options for migration.

Technologies used: RIS&A, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Windows Server

Roles: Discovery and Analysis, Reporting, Technical Project Management

Windows Azure Jump Start Services

Why does your company need the Jump Start Service?

The Jump Start service provides the legwork and reduces the timescales and effort required to be able to make informed and intuitive decisions relating to a Windows Azure migration

What are the benefits of Microsoft Azure?

  • Reduced costs
  • Increase scalability
  • Increase speed of deployment
  • Improve flexibility and access

Our Approach

  • Systems Assurance offers professional services across the whole of the UK helping to deliver your IT solutions in partnership or complimenting your current IT team.
  • To ensure a successful and trouble free migration to the Microsoft Azure infrastructure and platform Microsoft recommends, as a first step, that a comprehensive analysis and design phase is performed. This initial phase provides the basis for the migration and ensures that client expectations and benefits are realised by the migration program to Azure.
  • Systems Assurance’s Jump Start Service combines the latest discovery and assessment tools with Microsoft migration expert consultancy to deliver the initial phase in days, not weeks.

What’s Next?

Armed with the output from the Jump Start Service businesses can decide where best to focus there efforts.

What’s Included?

The Jump Start Service will start with a feasibility workshop which will discuss the Azure technology stack, where it will fit into your business and identify potential areas for a proof of concept. From here an analysis phase will be undertaken looking at the following key areas:

Identify current challenges

  • Identify, collect and analyse actual and current workloads usage across all or subsets of the servers
  • Build application profiles identifying dependencies and the scope for breaking down applications into functional units to enable elastic scale and allow for hybrid applications.

Security & Compliance

  • Ensure that security, compliance and regulatory requirements are maintainable on the Azure platform.
  • Identify those application components that may need to run as hybrid applications because of their sensitive or regulatory nature.
The output from the service will be a comprehensive report identifying the high level requirements for an Azure solution, the server dependencies and capacity, indicative costings as well as areas where a pilot or proof of concept could be run.
For further information please contact your Systems Assurance account manager on 0114 292 2911 or email our team consult@systemsassurance.com