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Shadowfax Blog

Information blog articles around IT industry news and the use of IT in SME businesses and organisations.

David Templeman Msc

Congratulations to our Helpdesk Manager David Templeman on his graduation for his Msc in Network Security.

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Cyber-Security

Email sent to our contract clients regarding the recent WanaCry outbreak:

I am sure you are concerned with the reports over the weekend of the massed cyber attack that took down systems in over 100 countries, including a large chunk of the NHS.

The Malware, Wana Decrypt0r also known as WanaCry, was spread using an exploit called EternalBlue that was discovered by the NSA, and since leaked by a group of hackers.

Microsoft released a patch for its currently supported operating systems in April, and it was approved for installation on our network management system. Any PC or Server that has had an update cycle (i.e. been left on overnight) will have had the patch installed. If you are concerned that a PC may not have been patched switch the PC on and send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the PC name and we run Windows update on it.

However older operating systems are still vulnerable, for example it was the NHS’ Windows XP PCs that were compromised.

As far as we are aware none of our clients are running Windows XP, but if you do have something hidden away please let us know so we can deal with it accordingly.

Although this wave is over malware is continuously evolving and it is important to keep on top of your cyber security.

The three things you can do to help protect yourself:

  1. Apply Windows Patches – Our network management system will push them out to PCs overnight, leave your PC on overnight once a week so it can pick them up.
  2. Check your Anti-Virus – Again we monitor and update the AV on systems that we manage, but there is no harm users checking that they have it installed and that it is up to date.
  3. User education - every user should be briefed on their responsibility regarding cyber-security. They should not be opening suspicious attachments, and should not be downloading software or using websites that they are not authorised to.

If you have any further concerns regarding this please feel free to get in touch.

Regards,

 

 

Adam

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SharePoint Online Overview

Hi All,

Welcome to the 3rd instalment of our #betyoudidntknowthat video series on all things Microsoft – with a main focus on Office 365, Office Desktop Suite and key Windows features.

This video we’ve taken a brief overview of the SharePoint Online portal.

Take a look at Video 3 here!

In text form – a brief overview of the video:

SharePoint Admin Centre

The high-level management of the SharePoint Online environment is controlled through the main Office 365 portal. By finding 'SharePoint' beneath the 'ADMIN' section on the left-hand menu. From here you can manage the centrally pooled storage and server resource quotas on a site by site basis. From this window you can also control the administrator privileges to each SharePoint site. You don't have to grant permission to a user to be able to administer the whole Office 365 portal, just the permission they need to administer individual SharePoint sites.

SharePoint Site Administration

Visit one of your SharePoint Sites (mydomain.sharepoint.com) and click 'Edit' on the top-right handside of the grey menu bar. This enables you to move the individual elements of the site around, just like a content management system for a normal website. You can make further customisations and additions of new widgets from this screen. 

Site Contents

To view all of the features & apps attached to your specific SharePoint Site you can click on 'Site Contents' in the left-hand menu. This shows the current active apps, alongside the ability to visit the SharePoint Store and add new Microsoft apps, along with many 3rd party apps built specifically to enhance SharePoint. Many of which can integrate with other 3rd party software that enriches the use of the SharePoint environment.

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Office 365 Portal

Hi All,

Welcome to the first of our #betyoudidntknowthat series of video hints, tips, tricks and advice around the Microsoft suite of software/cloud including Windows Desktop, Office 2013/2016 and Office 365. In this video we're just dipping our toe into the water with the Office 365 Portal (http://portal.office.com) with a few intro tips picked up from our experience of introducing new end users to the platform. 

Office 365 is a very powerful cloud communication & collaboration platform and on the most-part isn't fully utilised by most users. Features such as OneDrive, SharePoint and Skype for Business can really enhance the way in which you are able to work, share & communicate with colleagues, clients and suppliers alike.

Take a look at Video No. 1 here!

In text form - a brief overview of the video:

Access the Office 365 web portal for access to online services securely from any internet connected device. Login at http://portal.office.com with your username (typically your email address) and your password, which will be unique to your user account. Please note that this may well be the same as your login credentials for your PC - depending on how your network is setup.

From the welcome portal you can access the services available to you through your licensing plan. On the video we have the E3 licensing plan, which provides access to almost all of the core Office 365 services. 

How do I reset my password?

You may well have a dummy password, which you would like to reset to something more useful. Click on the cog at the top right and click on Office 365 settings. Once loaded you can click on Change your password. You can then enter your existing password, along with a new password (remember to meet the strict security criteria set).

How do I download the desktop Office suite for my PC?

From the same Settings menu you're able to download the Office suite. Note that you have to have licensing of at least the Business Premium tier to be licensed for the Office client. The Office client is included within Office 365 licensing Business Premium, E3 and E5 - plus what used to be known as Midsize Business and Small Business Premium, which some users are still on.

What else can I access through the portal?

Today we're just touching very briefly on some of the key features including Email (plus Contacts, Calendars, Tasks). Click on the white dots icon on the top left - you have access to Mail, People, Calendar and Tasks separately. These are all completely synchronised live from all of your devices collectively. Any changes or new items you create within the portal are immediately synchronised back to your other devices where your 365 account is active.

OneDrive is also a strong feature of Office 365 - providing what we see as 'My Documents in the Cloud'. Store, sync and have access to your documents on all of your devices or via the portal - on any internet connected device. There is the ability to share your documents/folders with internal and external contacts, however permissions can get messy and you can easily lose track. For collaboration we're best looking at SharePoint separately - we'll touch on this in greater detail on future videos.

Office Apps through my web browser?

Through the portal you also have access to online versions of the famous Office applications. Working alongside OneDrive you're able to create, edit and save Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents all safely within the browser and without the need for the applications to be installed locally on the device and without the need to store your data locally to the device.

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Outlook Features

Hi All,

Welcome to the 2nd instalment of our #betyoudidntknowthat video series on all things Microsoft – with a main focus on Office 365, Office Desktop Suite and key Windows features.

This video we’ve taken a focus on some of the hot features provided by Office 365’s Hosted Exchange through the Outlook desktop client.

Take a look at Video 2 here!

In text form – a brief overview of the video:

Out of Office Messages

Through Outlook you can configure automatic messages to reply to email senders when you’re not available to pick up your messages. Once you’ve set this message within Outlook, (indefinitely or for a defined period), your out of office message will be set on Office 365 so you can safely close down Outlook and your PC without worrying if the messages are still being sent.

Click on File > Automatic Replies. You can activate the replies indefinitely (until you turn it off) or for a pre-defined date/time period. You also have the ability to set different messages for internal and external contacts.

Once set this fires off to Office 365 and you’re good to close down Outlook. When you come back and wish to turn it off you’ll get a yellow bar across the top of Outlook asking if you still need the replies active.

Shared Calendars

Outlook also provides access to calendars with shared permissions set. For example, your colleague’s calendars can all be shared with you or a specific project or location, such as your meeting rooms.

Setting up a shared calendar for a meeting room provides a central location for all users to check the rooms availability and instantly schedule meetings. You can invite the meeting room as an attendee and if the room is available the system will automatically accept the invitation and book out the room. If the room is unavailable at that time the calendar will reject the invitation.

Shared Mailboxes

Shared Mailboxes are a great way to teams to collaborate over shared incoming communications. Very useful in a sales team or call centre environment as an example. Instead of the traditional distribution group setup where emails are sent individually into multiple user’s inboxes, Shared Mailboxes will receive one central copy which is shared instantly between all users with access.

If a user reads and processes the email, files it and responds to it – instantly all other users will see the email has been filed and can see the email that’s been sent in response. Helping reduce duplication and increase efficiency.

‘Send As’ Email Permissions

If you have the need for other users to help monitor & maintain your email inbox you can delegate a variety of permission sets. ‘Send As’ permissions grants another user the ability to send emails on your behalf as though they are you. The recipient is none the wiser as to who sent them the email.

‘Send on behalf of’ Email Permissions

If you would prefer your recipients to be aware that a colleague has replied to the email on your behalf – you can set ‘Send on behalf of’ permissions.

 

Instead your recipients will then see your colleagues name is sending the email on behalf of your mailbox. For example, “Joe Smith on behalf of Joe Bloggs”.

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