August 2021 Newsletter
August 2021 NewsletterPosted By: Hayley Thursday 2nd September 2021 Tags: business support, cloud computing, IT consultancy, IT services, it support, Microsoft Azure, Windows 365
The Arrival Of Windows 365
This month sees the release of Windows 365, plus cloud computing with Microsoft Azure, an invite to the Tees Expo, some Wi-Fi safety tips, and, is it the end for Microsoft Paint?
Microsoft Provides ‘Always-On’ Cloud PC With Windows 365
Want to easily and securely work from anywhere at any time, with full performance and the minimum of fuss?
August saw Microsoft officially release Windows 365, their ‘always-on’ cloud PC service that allows business customers to “combine the power and security of the cloud with the versatility and simplicity of the PC”.
The recent need to Work From Home (WFH) has been a catalyst to many businesses making full digital transformations in just about every business area. While it was possible to set up a similar(ish) network experience via virtualisation and remote access software, we now have an official Microsoft service that is permanently in the cloud, custom built for the purpose of a personalised Windows experience for remote/hybrid working. Just sign in from any desktop PC, Mac, or mobile device and pick up exactly where you left off last time – all your apps and data ready to go from where you last left them. And, while it’s built with Windows 11 in mind, it’s compatible with Windows 10.
There are currently two Windows 365 plans: ‘Business’ and ‘Enterprise’. The Business option is ideal for small and medium-sized companies, as subscribers can add up to 300 users and manage everything online without the need for a licence, while the Enterprise option has no limit, allows you to build on existing licences and take advantage of Microsoft’s Endpoint Manager data security software.
Scalability is a key benefit of the Windows 365 service for businesses because you can easily, and quickly, scale up or down by adding or removing licences and storage to meet the changing needs of your company.
So, to summarise, the advantages of a Windows 365 environment to your business are:
- Personalised Cloud PCs
- A simple, powerful, and secure setup
- The ability to stream to any device
- Cost-effective scalability
For further information about how LaneSystems can use Windows 365 to transform your business operations, contact our team
The Future Is Azure
The technical landscape for a company like LaneSystems is always on the move. Approaches and technologies that are prevalent today will soon become obsolete. For this reason, we see ongoing education and training, as a key goal for our technical team.
At LaneSystems, we have exacting standards and a course of study that all technicians must follow. Progress through this study path is monitored using our own coarse materials and test. We also like our technicians to achieve formally assessed technical qualifications, like Microsoft’s. Frank is currently studying for Microsoft exams, as is Mark Shields, though Mark’s are at a higher level.
Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, has become increasingly prevalent in the last decade. Last year, our own Mark Shields became qualified as an Azure Administrator. This year, Arran and Brendan are pursuing their own Microsoft Azure qualifications. As we move towards Windows 365 and Windows 11, Azure knowledge and skills will become increasingly important.
LaneSystems has a cohort of highly skilled engineers whose knowledge and skill are reflected in our internal testing and the externally assessed qualifications they achieve. We’re well prepared to fulfil our client’s needs now and into the Azure future.
Congratulations to our team on all of their continued success!
We’re Going To Tees Expo
A quick note to let you know that LaneSystems will be exhibiting at Tees Expo alongside one of our clients, Bon Coeur.
Teesside Expo is a trade-show and exhibition in the Tees Valley region offering small, medium and large businesses to network and get their brands out there.
It’ll be at The Grand Marquee, Wynyard Hall, on September 30th 2021 between 10am and 3pm. Pop along, say hello, and see how we can help your business continue to grow.
Public Wi-FI Safety
Little thought is generally given about it when you go into a shop, restaurant, hotel, etc, and sign into their free wi-fi service, but what’s a desirable convenience to the average user is also a desirable target for hackers. As telecoms networks expand, and more businesses provide access to an ever-increasing number of free, public wi-fi points across the country, it’s worth taking a moment to be aware of the risks of using these connections and how to keep any important data and information safe.
Networks with no user authentication protocols mean there’s potential for a hacker to get in between you and the connection point to intercept your data, or to use that network to distribute malware. If you have unencrypted data going through a hacker to get to the hotspot then any sensitive information, such as banking info, passwords for anywhere you log in to, or any other personal communications, is being taken and could be used later. If you allow file sharing, then malware can potentially be distributed on the network and onto your device.
There’s no need to avoid public Wi-Fi, even if you want to use it for anything more important than casual browsing. Just take a few basic precautions.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Make sure sites use an SSL connection
- Turn Off Sharing
- Turn Wi-Fi off when not using it
- Use security software on your device and keep it up to date
VPNs carry all your data encrypted, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the hacker to decrypt/read. The casual hacker is looking for easy, unencrypted data to use.
SSL (the ‘https’ or padlock icon you see in the browser bar) adds an extra layer of encryption when using websites. If a website requires a login but doesn’t use SSL then it’s probably a good idea not to sign in to it.
Leaving Wi-Fi on, and allowing Sharing, is a potential window for hackers. How often have you checked the box to automatically remember the WiFi hotspot for the next time you might use it? When you’ve forgotten about it your device will still be searching and signing on whenever you’re in range.
It’s always worth having good device security software to monitor and check what’s happening to your device. It’ll check for malware, scan emails/attachments and file uploads, etc, so you’re safe when something manages to get through. Always use reputable security software and always keep it up to date.
Hackers will nearly always be looking for the softest targets, so taking the above precautions will act as a strong deterrent. There’s usually a time when you need to get online for something important and the free Wi-Fi spot is the best/only option, so stay safe and secure and make yourself a hard target.
Are you a fan of MS Paint? A beloved little Windows program to some, there have long been fears it would be killed off. Back in 2017, Microsoft put Paint on a list of deprecated features, meaning it would no longer be actively developed. Everyone thought that was the end of the road.
However, Windows 11 is due to arrive soon and will see a revamped version of Paint included. It appears that Microsoft isn’t planning to get rid just yet.
While there’s a revamp of the interface, there are no additional functions. But, as Gizmodo puts it: “Let’s be real, MS Paint was never a full-featured graphics editor in the vein of Photoshop. It was and forever will be, a sentimental program for making crude drawings and quickly cropping or resizing images on the cheap”.
While Paint is a relatively trivial bit of fun, we are marching on towards the release of Windows 11, with all that entails for businesses. And while Paint might be carrying on for a while longer, don’t forget that Microsoft support for Windows 7 has already ended.
For further information about Windows 11 and how LaneSystems can implement and support the transition in your business, contact our team.