Email is one of the most common and effective ways for businesses to communicate with their customers, partners, and prospects. However, email marketing can also be challenging, as you need to ensure that your messages reach the intended recipients and not get lost in the junk or spam folders. This is not only important for your reputation, but also for your revenue and customer satisfaction. Therefore, it’s essential for businesses to understand and follow the best practices for email deliverability, especially as the email landscape evolves and becomes more complex.

This year, both Google and Yahoo are increasing their requirements for sending emails to better protect recipients from spam and spoof emails. In October 2023, they released a joint statement that some authentication methods would now be required.

A man sitting at a laptop with email logos forming in front of the laptop indicating that they are sending an email

What are the new requirements?

To build trust for your domain and increase your inbox deliverability rates, there are a number of requirements you must meet. It has always been a best practice to have SPF, DKIM, and DMARC in place on your domain. However, Google and Yahoo are stepping up their requirements and emails without these DNS records will be more likely to end up in the spam folder.

SPF, DKIM and DMARC records help mail receivers authenticate that the email has come from the correct source, that it hasn’t been tampered with in transit, and has rules set if either of the first two requirements aren’t met.

What is SPF, DKIM, and DMARC?

SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

SPF is a protocol used to prevent sender address forgery. It allows an organization to publish authorized mail servers in their Domain Name System (DNS) records. When an email is sent, the receiving server checks these records to verify that the email has originated from a server permitted by the domain’s administrators (e.g. Microsoft 365). This verification helps in identifying and blocking emails from unauthorized sources, thus reducing the risk of spam or phishing attacks originating from your domain.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)

DKIM adds an extra layer of security by attaching a digital fingerprint to outgoing emails. This fingerprint is linked to your domain, allowing the receiving server to validate that the email hasn’t been tampered with during transit. This process ensures the authenticity of the email’s content and sender, providing recipients with assurance about the email’s integrity.

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance)

DMARC is a policy framework that unifies SPF and DKIM authentication mechanisms. It allows domain owners to specify how an email should be dealt with if it fails SPF or DKIM checks. For example, do you want the emails to be blocked or quarantined.

What if we don’t meet the requirements?

If you are sending emails without SPF, DKIM, and DMARC enabled, it’s more likely that Google and Yahoo will send your email to the recipient’s junk folder, or not deliver it at all. While the initial terms set out by Google and Yahoo seem to be targeting large bulk senders, it’s anticipated that these changes will filter down and be an expectation for all senders very soon.

A list of emails on a computer all marked as Email Spam

How do we implement this?

For any of our managed clients we will be in touch soon to discuss the requirements and get you all set up.

If you are a pay as you go client, or not a client of Heliocentrix, you can complete the form below to receive our free guide explaining how to get started setting up SPF, DKIM and DMARC.


In the evolving landscape of AI integration in everyday tools, Microsoft has introduced two distinct AI-based assistants: Windows Copilot and Microsoft 365 Copilot. Although they share some core functionalities, their applications, features, and target audiences differ significantly.

Windows Copilot: Enhancing Your Windows Experience

Availability

Not yet available in the United Kingdom

Licensing and Data Protection

Bing Chat Enterprise

Default for users with licenses like Microsoft 365 E3/E5, A3/A5 (for faculty), Business Standard, and Business Premium.

Standard Bing Chat

For other licenses including Microsoft 365 Business Basic. Note that standard Bing chat lacks the enhanced data protections of Bing Chat Enterprise. If you are concerned about data protection for users interacting with Standard Bing Chat, then you can disable Windows Copilot via a policy in Intune for these users.

Data Protections

When interacting with Bing Chat Enterprise data protections are enhanced. This ensures chat data isn’t stored or used to train the underlying language model.

When interacting with Standard Bing Chat, there are fewer data protections in place and chat data may be used to train the underlying language model.

For more information, click here

Functionalities

Based on Bing Chat

Inherits all capabilities of Bing Chat, such as internet searches, text composition, and image creation.

Device Interaction

Unique ability to interact with and modify Windows device settings.

Examples include changing:

  • Turning on dark mode
  • Muting volume
  • Changing wallpaper
  • Taking screenshots
  • Setting focus timers
  • Opening File Explorer
  • Window snapping
  • Launching trouble-shooters for common issues like audio or camera malfunctions.

Cost

Free with Windows 11.

Microsoft 365 Copilot: Your Productivity Partner

Licensing and Data Handling

One of the following licences is required:

  • Microsoft 365 E5/E3
  • Office 365 E3/E5
  • Microsoft 365 A5/A3 (for faculty)
  • Office 365 A5/A3 (for faculty)
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Business Premium.

Data Processing:

All data processed within the M365 tenant, with chat transcripts not used for LLM training.

Capabilities

Microsoft 365 Copilot is designed to handle complex tasks and significantly boost productivity. It can help with a range of tasks, such as:

  • Word – Help you write an initial draft of a document, report or blog post.
  • PowerPoint – It can read documents or PDFs to create PowerPoint presentations.
  • Outlook – Capable of drafting emails with a personalized tone.
  • Excel – Analyses and summarizes key trends from business results.
  • Teams – Provides summaries of meetings and channel conversations, highlighting key decisions and action items.

Cost

Annual Subscription: £296.40 per year.

Key Takeaways

While both Windows Copilot and Microsoft 365 Copilot are grounded in enhancing productivity and simplifying tasks through AI, they cater to different needs and environments. Windows Copilot focuses on optimising your Windows experience, integrating closely with the operating system to facilitate easier interaction and customisation.

On the other hand, Microsoft 365 Copilot aims at supercharging your productivity in a professional environment, especially through its seamless integration with the Microsoft Office suite. The choice between them depends on your specific requirements, be it enhancing your device interaction or streamlining your office work.

Microsoft Loop is the latest creation from Microsoft designed to help teams work together more efficiently across projects. Consisting of components, pages and workspaces, Microsoft Loop brings together your plans into a single space.

Screenshot of Microsoft Loop showing a Loop Page with a project brief paragraph and a task list

How do we access Microsoft Loop?

Microsoft Loop is included in both Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Business Premium. If you have either of these licenses you already have access at no additional cost.

If you have these licences but aren’t able to access Loop then you may need to enable it via a Cloud Policy setting. You can find out how to do this here Manage Loop workspaces in SharePoint Embedded | Microsoft Learn

Loop is then available as a web application from loop.microsoft.com and across the various applications that can handle Loop components such as Teams and Outlook.

Top Tip: If you are using Loop regularly you can add workspaces as a desktop app by opening Loop.microsoft.com, selecting the three dots in the top right of your browser. Find “Apps” from the menu and select “Install this site as an App” to add a shortcut to your desktop.

What are Loop Workspaces, Pages and Components?

Microsoft Loop comprises these three core elements.

Workspaces

Workspaces are the central container for all of your Loop pages and components. Think of each workspace as a standalone project to help you organise where information can be found and updated when required. Workspaces are comprised of pages and can consist of one or more pages.

Find out more about Loop Workspaces and Pages here

Pages

Loop Pages are spaces that help you bring all of your notes, ideas, plans and actions into a single location. Pages are always contained within a workspace. They can start of small and continue to grow to meet the project needs. Each page is an infinite canvas that can contain any number of individual components.

Find out more about Loop Workspaces and Pages here

Components

A Loop Component could be a table, paragraph, to-do list or other item. These individual elements within a Loop Page can be shared across Teams and Outlook. This means they can appear in multiple locations and when updated in one, they update in real time in every location.

Loop components allow you to share specific sections of a Loop page with users who don’t have access to the rest of the page or workspace.

Find out more about Loop components here

Microsoft Loop Mobile App

Microsoft Loop even has a mobile app so you can review your Loop workspaces on the move. You can access all of the elements of Loop from within the mobile app and even receive notifications when you are mentioned or assigned a task within a workspace.

Additionally, you can add photos directly to a Loop workspace or page using your phones camera or photo library.

The mobile app is available on both Apple and Android.

Microsoft Loop Mobile App screenshot      Microsoft Loop Mobile App screenshot

What are the limitations of Microsoft Loop?

Microsoft Loop is a great tool for collaborating and sharing ideas with your team. However, it does have a few limitations:

  1. Currently Loop components can only be shared within your organisation. However, it is anticipated that you will be able to share Loop components outside of our organisation in 2024.
  2. Planner boards won’t work in the mobile app when viewing a workspace or when shared in Teams or in Outlook. Instead you’ll be presented with a URL that you can follow to open the planner board directly in the web browser on your device.

In this blog post we are going to take an in depth look at Microsoft Loop Workspaces and Pages and how to use them.

Loop Workspaces

Workspaces are the central container for all of your Loop pages and components. Think of each workspace as a standalone project to help you organise where information can be found and updated when required. Workspaces are comprised of pages and can consist of one or more pages.

Loop Pages

Loop Pages are spaces that help you bring all of your notes, ideas, plans and actions into a single location. Pages are always contained within a workspace. They can start of small and continue to grow to meet the project needs. Each page is an infinite canvas that can contain any number of individual components.

Find out more about Loop components here

How do you create Loop Workspaces?

To create a new Loop Workspace first go to Microsoft Loop Once you’ve logged in you can click the “+” symbol on the right hand side to create a new workspace.

Give your workspace a name, and then customise it with a cover photo and an emoji. If you prefer, you can choose not to have either of these options. Currently, Microsoft Loop only allows you select a cover photo from a stock list, you are not able to upload your own cover photo.

Screenshot from Loop Workspaces showing how to create a new workspace

How do you add documents and other files to Loop Workspaces?

There are two ways to add documents and files to a Loop Workspace. You can add links to them either in the workspace navigation pane on the left hand side, or by tagging them within a Loop page.

To add documents to the navigation pane:

  1. First, you will need to open the location where the file is stored.
  2. Right click on the document you want to add to the workspace and select “Show more options”.
  3. Select “Copy Link”
  4. In your workspace select the “+” button on the left-hand side to add a page or linkScreenshot from Loop workspaces showing how to add a new page
  5. Select “New Link”
  6. Give the document a name and paste the link you copied earlier
  7. A link to the document will be displayed in the left-hand toolbarScreenshot from Loop Workspaces showing how to create a new loop page

Top Tip: You can use the same process to add links to websites or other online resources

To tag documents within a Loop Page

  1. Go to the location on the Loop page you want to add the link
  2. Type “@” and then start typing the name of the file you want to link

How do you add components to a Loop Page?

To add components to a Loop page you just need to click where you want to add the Loop componenet and then type “/”. You can then continue to type the name of the componenet you want to add or select it from the list.

Find out more about Loop components here {link}

How do you share Loop Workspaces and Pages with other users?

  1. You can share a Loop Workspace with other users by selecting “Share” in the top right-hand corner
  2. Then click on “Workspace”screenshot from loop workspaces showing how to create a loop page
  3. Enter the names or email addresses of the users who you want to share the workspace with

How do you share a Loop Page to other locations?

To share just an individual page with other users you have two options. You can either share a link to the page or you can share the whole page as a Loop component with Teams or Outlook

Share the Loop page URL

  1. Select “Share” in the top right-hand corner
  2. Then click “Page Link”
  3. Paste the link into Teams, an Email or anywhere else to share the URL

Top Tip: Use this method if you want to give view only access or restrict access using the link. Click “Settings” after the link has been created and change the permissions for the link.

Share the Loop page as a Loop component

  1. Using the navigation pane on the left side of the workspace. Select the three dots next to the page you want to share
  2. Select “Share Loop Component”
  3. This will create a Loop component of the entire page that can be shared in Teams or Outlook
  4. Paste the URL to the location you want to share it

 

How do you tag users in a Loop Page?

Tagging users in a specific section of the page is a useful tool to bring this section to their attention. When a user is tagged they will receive an email notification that they have been tagged.

Note: Users will need to have access to the page or workspace to receive a notification.

  1. Select the location you want to tag the user
  2. Type “@” and then the users name

 

In this blog post we are going to take an in depth look at the various Loop components available and how to use them across Loop workspaces, Microsoft Teams and Outlook.

Loop Components

A Loop Component could be a table, paragraph, to-do list or other item. These individual elements within a Loop Page can be shared across Teams and Outlook. This means they can appear in multiple locations and when updated in one, they update in real time in every location.

Loop components allow you to share specific sections of a Loop page with users who don’t have access to the rest of the page or workspace.

Find out more about Loop workspaces and pages here

What Loop Components Are Available?

You can currently create the following Loop components:

  • Table
  • List (Check/Bulleted/Numbered)
  • Callout
  • Code Block
  • Table of Contents
  • Paragraph
  • Header
  • Task List
  • Voting Table
  • Team Retrospective
  • Kanban Board
  • Planner Board (From Microsoft Planner)Screenshot of a Task list loop component in a loop workspaceScreenshot of a kanban board loop component in a loop workspace Screenshot of a voting table loop component in a loop workspace

How Do You Add A Loop Component To A Loop Page?

Most Loop Components can be added really easily.

  1. Select the location on the page you want to add the Loop Component
  2. Type “/” and then either continue to type the name of the component or select from the list

Top Tip: Create a test Loop workspace and add the various components to get a feel for what they do and how they work.

How To add a Planner Board to a Loop Page:

  1. Go to Microsoft Planner and create your planner board.
  2. Copy the Planner board URL.
  3. Go to your Loop page and select the location where you want to add the planner board.
  4. Paste the Planner board URL.

Note: Planner boards can only be displayed within a Loop page on the web application. In the mobile application or in Microsoft Teams or Outlook the URL will be displayed instead. The user can follow the link to view the Planner Board in their browser.

How Do You Share A Loop Component From A Loop Workspace?

You can share a Loop Component to Microsoft Teams, within an email in Outlook, in Whiteboard, within Microsoft Word Online or to other Loop workspaces and pages.

To share a component:

  1. Select the component you want to turn into a Loop Component
  2. Click the Double Kebab Menu (Six dots in two columns of three)
  3. Select “Create Loop Component”Screenshot of a Task list loop component in a loop workspace showing how to create a loop component
  4. In the right hand side of the Loop Component a new menu will appear. Select the middle option to share the component.Screenshot of a Task list loop component in a loop workspace showing how to create a loop component
  5. Paste the link where you would like the Loop component to appear

Note: Two other options will be available you after you have created the Loop Component. You will be able to view who has access to the component and all the locations where it has been shared.

How Do You Create A Loop Component In Teams?

To create a Loop Component in a Teams chat:

  1. Open Microsoft Teams
  2. Find the conversation where you would like to add the Loop Component
  3. Look for the Loop Component icon highlighted in the screenshot below
  4. Select the Loop Component you would like to create
  5. Either fill out the Component and then click send, or send first and then fill out

Top Tip: When editing a component in Teams before sending, hit CTRL + ENTER at the same time to send the component when ready.

Note: You can only send Loop Components to users within your organisation.

How Do You Create A Loop Component In Outlook?

To create a Loop component in Outlook:

  1. Open a New Email
  2. Click on the body of the email
  3. In the ribbon, select “Loop Components”
  4. Choose the component you would like to add from the list

Screenshot showing how to create a loop component in outlookNote: You can only send Loop Components to users within your organisation.

How Do You Add An Existing Loop Component To A Loop Page?

If you have created a Loop component in either Microsoft Teams or Outlook you can add it to a Loop page within a workspace by following these steps:

  1. Find the Loop Component within the Teams conversation or email in Outlook.
  2. Select the “Copy Component” button from the menu in the top right of the component.Screenshot showing how to create a loop component
  3. Paste the link where you would like to share the component.

Updates Coming Soon To Loop Components

There are some exciting updates expected in 2024:

  1. It is anticipated that in 2024 you will be able to share Loop Components with external users outside of your organisation.
  2. You will be able to create Loop Components from whiteboards which you can then insert into Loop Pages.

Introduction

As we approach the festive season, it’s crucial for everyone, especially businesses, to stay vigilant and proactive in managing technology. The holiday period brings unique challenges and opportunities in the tech world for both business and personal. From safeguarding new devices to enjoying digital connections with loved ones, here are 12 essential tech tips to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and environmentally conscious Christmas season.

12 Tech Tips

  1. Update Your Security Software:

Cyber threats often come dressed in holiday themes. Ensure all your devices, including those managed for clients, have the latest security software updates. This is your first line of defence against digital grinches.

  1. Strong Passwords for New Devices:

Unwrapping tech gifts? Set strong, unique passwords immediately. This simple step is vital in protecting your shiny new gadgets from unwelcome intruders.

  1. Safe Online Shopping:

Only purchase from reputable websites. Always check for HTTPS in the URL and the padlock symbol in the address bar, ensuring your transactions are secure. Remember, if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

  1. Beware of Holiday Scams:

Stay alert to common holiday scams like phishing emails. These deceptive messages often offer irresistible deals to lure you into divulging personal information. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  1. Don’t Rush:

When you are eager to log off for holidays try not to rush. Take extra care with your emails and review each one for possible phishing attempts before responding or taking any action.

  1. Wi-Fi Security:

Traveling over the holidays? Avoid using public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions. If necessary, use a VPN to secure your connection.

  1. Smart Home Safety:

If your festive lights and devices are smart, ensure their firmware is up to date and default passwords are changed. This keeps your merry and bright tech safe from hacking attempts.

  1. Digital Detox:

Encourage taking breaks from screens to spend quality time with family and friends. A digital detox can refresh your mind and strengthen personal connections.

  1. Eco-Friendly Tech Disposal:

Received a tech upgrade? Think about recycling your old devices. This promotes environmentally friendly practices and reduces e-waste.

  1. Use Technology to Stay Connected:

While it’s great to be able to disconnect from your devices and be present, they can also help us to connect with those who we can’t be with. Use video calls and digital greeting cards to stay connected with loved ones, sharing the holiday spirit across any distance.

  1. Virtual Christmas Party:

For remote teams, organise a virtual Christmas party. Engage in online games or a festive-themed quiz to celebrate together in spirit.

  1. Plan for Tech in the New Year:

Reflect on your current tech setup. Plan upgrades or changes for the upcoming year, including budgeting for necessary IT support and enhancements.

Conclusion

This holiday season, embrace these tips to make the most of your technology, safely and joyfully. By staying vigilant, connected, and environmentally conscious, you can enjoy a festive period that’s merry, bright, and secure. Happy holidays from your trusted MSP!

Republished with permission from The Technology Press

In the pulsating digital landscape, every click and keystroke echoes through cyberspace. The battle for data security rages on. Businesses stand as both guardians and targets. Unseen adversaries covet their digital assets.

To navigate this treacherous terrain takes a two-pronged approach. Businesses must arm themselves with a sophisticated arsenal of cybersecurity strategies. On one side, the vigilant guards of prevention (Left of Boom). On the other, the resilient bulwarks of recovery (Right of Boom).

Together, these strategies form the linchpin of a comprehensive defence. They help ensure that businesses can repel attacks. And also rise stronger from the ashes if breached.

In this blog post, we’ll explain how to organise your cybersecurity approach into Left and Right of Boom.

What Do “Left of Boom” and “Right of Boom” Mean?

In the realm of cybersecurity, “Left of Boom” and “Right of Boom” are strategic terms. They delineate the proactive and reactive approaches to dealing with cyber threats

The Boom

“Left of Boom” refers to pre-emptive measures and preventative strategies. These are things implemented to safeguard against potential security breaches. It encompasses actions aimed at preventing cyber incidents before they occur.

“Right of Boom” pertains to the post-breach recovery strategies. Companies use these after a security incident has taken place. This phase involves activities like incident response planning and data backup.

Together, these terms form a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. They cover both prevention and recovery aspects. The goal is to enhance an organisation’s resilience against cyber threats.

Left of Boom: Prevention Strategies

 

User Education and Awareness

One of the foundational elements of Left of Boom is employee cybersecurity education. Regular training sessions can empower staff. They help them identify phishing emails. As well as recognise social engineering attempts and adopt secure online behaviours. An informed workforce becomes a strong line of defence against potential threats.

Employee training reduces the risk of falling for a phishing attack by 75%.

Robust Access Control and Authentication

Implementing strict access control measures reduces the risk of a breach. It helps ensure employees only have access to the tools necessary for their roles.

Access control tactics include:

  • Least privilege access
  • Multifactor authentication (MFA)
  • Contextual access
  • Single Sign-on (SSO) solutions

Regular Software Updates and Patch Management

Outdated software is a common vulnerability exploited by cybercriminals. Left of Boom strategies include ensuring all software is regularly updated. They should have the latest security patches. Automated patch management tools can streamline this process. They reduce the window of vulnerability.

Network Security and Firewalls

Firewalls act as the first line of defence against external threats. Install robust firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems. They can help track network traffic and identify suspicious activities. Additionally, they help block unauthorised access attempts. Secure network configurations are essential to prevent unauthorised access to sensitive data.

Regular Security Audits and Vulnerability Assessments

Conduct regular security audits and vulnerability assessments. This helps to identify potential weaknesses in your systems. By proactively addressing these vulnerabilities, organisations can reduce risk. They can reduce the chance of exploitation by cybercriminals.

Penetration testing can also simulate real-world cyber-attacks. This allows businesses to evaluate their security posture effectively.

Right of Boom: Recovery Strategies

 

Incident Response Plan

Having a well-defined incident response plan in place is crucial. This plan should outline the steps to take in the event of a security breach.

It should include things like:

  • Communication protocols
  • Containment procedures
  • Steps for recovery
  • IT contact numbers

Regularly test and update your incident response plan. This ensures it remains effective and relevant.

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery

Regularly backing up data is a vital component of Right of Boom. Another critical component is having a robust disaster recovery plan.

Automated backup systems can ensure that critical data is regularly backed up. As well as making sure it can be quickly restored in the event of a breach. A disaster recovery plan allows businesses to resume operations swiftly after an incident.

Forensic Analysis and Learning

After a security breach, conduct a thorough forensic analysis. It’s essential to understand the nature of the attack. As well as the extent of the damage, and the vulnerabilities exploited.

Learning from these incidents enables organisations to strengthen their security posture further. This makes it harder for similar attacks to succeed in the future.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Navigating the legal and regulatory landscape after a security breach is important. Organisations must follow data breach notification laws and regulations. Timely and transparent communication with affected parties is essential. It’s vital to maintaining trust and credibility.

Get Help with a Strong 2-pronged Cybersecurity Strategy

Using Left and Right of Boom strategies can improve your security stance. These terms help you consider both important aspects of a strong defence.

If you’d like some help getting started, give us a call today to schedule a chat.

A computer chip with the outline of a brain overlayed made from the electrical current

There is no escaping the relentless march of AI. Software companies are rapidly incorporating it into many business tools. This includes tools like Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and others.

Many people are still concerned about where AI will go. But there is no denying that it makes certain work more efficient. It can generate custom images on demand. Or write a company device policy draft in seconds.

Staying ahead of the curve often means embracing cutting-edge technologies. Even if you’re a little wary about what the future holds. Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) is unique from the AI of a few years back. It can create, innovate, and optimise. These functions have become a game-changer for businesses of all sizes.

Leveraging Generative AI, small businesses can unlock a world of possibilities. This includes everything from enhancing customer experiences to streamlining operations.

Have you felt bombarded with AI tool options? Unsure where to begin with leveraging it for your business? Let’s explore some smart and practical ways to incorporate GenAI.

1. Personalised Customer Experiences

Generative AI algorithms can analyse customer data and preferences. Using these, it can create personalised experiences.

48% of customers expect specialised treatment for being loyal to a company. Some of the ways AI can help you improve customer experience include: · Tailored product recommendations · Customised marketing messages · Custom coupons · Proactive engagement These things help small businesses enhance customer satisfaction, fostering brand loyalty.

2. Presentations & Graphics Creation

Generating a great sales presentation can be time-consuming. AI tools can automate this process. Microsoft Copilot is one of these. It can take meeting notes and prompts and create a presentation. Including images! Have you ever had trouble finding a promotional image? Tell Bing’s new AI tool what you need. You’ll get several options, tailored to your description. Example from ChatGPT powered by DALL-E3.

AI-driven platforms can produce relevant and engaging graphics. This frees up valuable time and saves money for business owners.

3. Chatbots for Customer Support

AI-powered chatbots on websites and social media platforms are becoming commonplace. This is because they enable small businesses to provide instant customer support. Which is exactly what people expect these days. These chatbots can handle frequently asked questions. They can also assist with product inquiries and customer transactions. They help small companies provide round-the-clock help for customers. But without having to pay for extra staff hours.

4. Data Analysis and Insights

Generative AI can process vast datasets to extract meaningful insights. Small businesses can use AI algorithms to analyse important data. Such as: · Market trends · Customer behavior · Operational data These insights can inform strategic decision-making. Which helps businesses refine their offerings and marketing strategies.

5. Product Design and Prototyping

AI in product design process allows businesses to explore many design variations rapidly. AI algorithms can generate prototypes and simulations. They do this based on specified parameters. This enables small businesses to visualise products before investing in physical prototypes.

6. Supply Chain Optimisation

AI can optimise supply chain operations. It can predict demand, identify inefficiencies, and suggest inventory levels. It takes away the human error component. As well as fees up teams from tedious administrative work. Small businesses can reduce costs and improve efficiency. AI automates a lot of the supply process. This helps ensure products are readily available when customers need them.

7. Dynamic Pricing Strategies

AI-driven pricing algorithms can help companies make better pricing decisions. Pricing your products and services can be tricky. You don’t want to go too low or too high. AI helps businesses quickly analyse: · Market trends · Competitor pricing · Customer behaviour These data insights help companies optimise pricing strategies. Small businesses can also dynamically adjust prices based on demand. This maximizes profits while remaining competitive in the market.

8. Human Resources and Recruitment

Generative AI can streamline the recruitment process. The hiring process includes a lot of work reviewing resumes. Many candidates don’t make the interview stage. AI can help by analysing resumes and screening candidates for you. It can even help with conducting initial interviews. Small businesses can find the best talent to drive their growth faster.

9. Predictive Maintenance

Downtime on a production line is costly. Proactive maintenance is vital. It’s another area where Generative AI can help. The technology can predict maintenance needs based on data analysis. It helps businesses avoid costly downtimes. It proactively addresses maintenance requirements. As well as helps to ensure smooth operations. <H2>Unsure How to Get Started with AI at Your Business?</H2> Generative AI opens a world of opportunities for small businesses. It can also add to the complexity of a technology infrastructure. We can help you use it effectively and affordably. Give us a call today to schedule a chat.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press

The whirlwind of advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the past year has significantly impacted both our personal and professional landscapes. As an MSP, we’ve dabbled in various AI applications, uncovering innovative solutions to daily challenges. Here, we delve into our experiences with AI chatbots, venture into the new realms opened by Bing Chat, and cast a speculative eye towards the exciting unveiling of Microsoft Co-Pilot.

The Daily Dance with AI

AI chatbots have seamlessly blended into our daily operations, offering a spectrum of functionalities, including:

  1. Injecting Humour: A light-hearted joke from our chatbot often brightens our day amidst the technical toils.
  2. Festive Mixology: Crafting unique, themed cocktail recipes for special events is now a breeze with AI.
  3. Excel Mastery: AI can produce complex Excel formulas in a matter of seconds.
  4. Social Media Savvy: Crafting social media posts to share our recent blog posts across social media platforms is a smoother process.
  5. Academic Assistance: One team member at Heliocentrix has been using AI to help them prepare for an upcoming exam. By feeding ChatGPT the course syllabus document, the chatbot was able to ask questions, mark the answers and provide feedback based on the course requirements.

Bing Chat: Expanding Horizons

The recent launch of Bing Chat has brought a new dimension to in-browser interactions. Besides embodying ChatGPT’s capabilities, it adds a unique feature: the ability to ingest content from the pages you’re viewing, interacting with the internet to provide insightful responses or gather information. This opens clever use cases:

  1. Research Accelerator: Speed up online research by having Bing Chat summarise key points from multiple tabs or documents.
  2. Contextual Query Resolution: Get instant clarifications on complex or technical terms within the context of the current page.
  3. Content Extraction: Bing Chat can extract fragmented content from a page and provide it to you in a table format or as text.

Beyond Chatbots: Other AI Tools

AI’s scope extends beyond chatbots. There are now a wide variety of tools available that harness the power of AI to try and make you more productive. Tools like:

  1. Scribe: Helps you to create process guides in just a few minutes. We recently shared some details of Scribe as it’s a tool we regularly use. Read more here {scribe link}
  2. Canva: Canva has now integrated AI to not only help you produce the right text for your designs but also eye-catching imagery.
  3. Microsoft Designer: Microsoft has joined the party with their own AI design tool, which is intended for the creation of marketing materials, invitations and more.

These tools manifest AI’s capability to streamline operations, enhance creativity, and propel productivity.

Peering into the Future: Microsoft Co-Pilot

Microsoft Co-Pilot, unveiled earlier in March this year, is an ambitious project aimed at being a virtual, personal assistant for users. Slated for general availability from 1st November, Co-Pilot is designed to work seamlessly across all Microsoft Products, assisting users in a myriad of tasks to improve productivity and efficiency. With its integration capabilities extending to other well-known products outside the Microsoft ecosystem, Co-Pilot aims to redefine how users interact with software applications, making the working process more streamlined and intuitive.

Regarding the cost, it’s projected to come with a price tag of £25 per user per month, which could be a significant investment, especially for larger teams or organisations. The anticipation surrounding Microsoft Co-Pilot is immense, with many in the industry keen to evaluate its potential in real-world scenarios.

We haven’t yet had the opportunity to get our hands on Co-Pilot to put it through its paces. When we do, we will be sure to let you know whether we think it’s worth the hype, and the price tag!

Wrapping Up

AI’s development so far has been one that we’ve watched with keen interest. We don’t know what the future holds but we will certainly continue to watch the evolution of this technology.

Introduction

In today’s digital age, email remains a crucial form of business communication. However, inconsistent, or unprofessional email signatures can tarnish your brand’s image. Imagine sending an email to a potential client only to realise that your team’s email signatures are all over the place—some are outdated, some lack essential contact information, and some are just plain unprofessional. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it?

Well, worry no more. There’s a simple solution to ensure consistent and professional email signatures across your entire organisation: Exclaimer. Trusted by over 50,000 businesses worldwide, Exclaimer offers brilliantly simple email signature management that integrates effortlessly with your email environment.

 

Why Consistency Matters

Before diving into the solution, let’s understand why having a consistent email signature is so important:

  1. Branding: A consistent signature reinforces your brand identity.
  2. Professionalism: It adds a layer of professionalism to your emails.
  3. Information: It ensures that essential contact details are always included.
  4. Compliance: For some industries, including specific information in email signatures is a regulatory requirement.

To read more about the importance of consistent email signatures see our blog post.

How Exclaimer Helps

Effortless Integration

Exclaimer integrates seamlessly with various email platforms, including Microsoft 365. This means you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.

Security and Compliance

Exclaimer holds multiple industry certifications for its security and compliance standards. You can rest assured that your email signatures will be managed in a secure environment.

Marketing and Campaigns

Exclaimer isn’t just about email signatures. You can also run banner campaigns for different departments, allowing you to turn every email into a marketing opportunity.

Team Specific Templates

You might have multiple teams within your organisation that require different contact details on their signatures. Exclaimer allows you to have multiple templates and assign the templates to specific users so they have the correct contact details.

 

Conclusion

Whether you want to reinforce your brand, share important news, or simply ensure that your contact details are delivered consistently, Exclaimer is the best way to manage the process efficiently. So, take the first step towards achieving email signature consistency by trying out Exclaimer today.

Click here to enquire about setting up Exclaimer.

In the fast-paced world of business, efficiency is key. Scribe, a cutting-edge tool designed to streamline the creation of process documentation, is making waves in the industry. With over 500,000 users, it’s clear that Scribe is a solution that many teams are turning to. Here’s why:

Visual Step-by-Step Guides

Scribe’s primary function is to turn any process into a visual step-by-step guide, instantly. Whether you’re onboarding new hires, creating SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), building training documents, or assisting customers, Scribe’s automated guide creation can save you time and keep your team focused.

Here is an example of a Scribe showing you how to set up automatic replies in Outlook. Click “Get Started” to see how it works.

How Scribe Works

  1. Capture Any Process: With the Scribe extension, you can go through your process like normal, and a step-by-step guide will be automatically created.
  2. Easily Customise: Add text, edit screenshots, redact sensitive information, and add your company’s branding to make the guide fit your needs.
  3. Share with One Click: Share your guides with teammates or clients via link, embed them in company wikis, or export them to PDF.

Features that Make Scribe Thrive

  • Web & Desktop Process Capture: Automatically create how-to guides for any web or desktop-based process.
  • Automatic Step Instructions: No more manual typing; Scribe writes how-to guides for you.
  • AI-Generated Process Documents: Utilise AI to generate SOPs, training manuals, and process overviews.
  • Sensitive Data Redaction: Stay compliant by automatically redacting sensitive data from screenshots.
  • Custom Branding: Add your company logo and colours to create professional-looking guides.

The Impact of Scribe

  • Save Time: Create process documentation 15x faster1.
  • Get Answers Faster: Find answers to your questions 67% faster1.
  • Increase Productivity: Boost your team’s productivity by 25%1.

Scribe’s users rave about its ability to simplify the creation of guides and tutorials with very little effort. It’s not just a tool; it’s a game-changer that’s helping teams save hours of work every week.

Conclusion

Scribe is more than just a tool; it’s a solution to a problem that’s as old as time. By automating the creation of visual step-by-step guides, it’s helping businesses streamline their processes, increase efficiency, and stay focused on what matters most. Whether you’re a small team or a large organisation, Scribe’s features can make a significant impact on how you create and share processes. Try Scribe for free and see how it can transform the way you work.

Head to Scribe’s website to find out more. Click Here!

In today’s fast-paced business environment, seamless communication is paramount. Whether it’s phone calls, messaging, video conferencing, or webinars, having a unified platform can make all the difference. That’s where Microsoft Teams Phone comes into play. As a Managed Service Provider (MSP), we’ve recently been trialling Teams Phones and have rolled it out to some clients.

Here’s our in-depth Microsoft Teams Phone review:

1. Centralising Business Communications

Microsoft Teams Phone is more than just a phone system. It centralises all business communications into a single piece of software. With Teams Phones, you can manage phones, messaging, video calls, and webinars all in one place. This integration not only streamlines operations but also enhances collaboration and efficiency.

2. Receive Calls on Your Mobile Device

With Teams Phones, you can receive calls from your dedicated Teams Phone number onto your mobile device. This means you can take work calls without having to give out your personal number or carry a second device. It’s convenience and privacy rolled into one.

3. Quick and Easy User Management

Tied into your Microsoft 365 licence, Teams Phones makes it quicker and easier to close down users that leave and set up new users that join. This seamless integration ensures that your business remains agile and responsive to changes in staffing.

4. Flexible Licensing Options

All licences for Teams Phones are month by month, so there is no annual commitment required. This flexibility allows your business to adapt to changing needs without being tied down by long-term contracts.

5. Forward Your Teams Phone Number

Going on annual leave, on the road, or otherwise occupied? You can forward your Teams Phone number to your mobile or to another team member, colleague, or administrative assistant. This ensures that your clients and colleagues can still reach someone in your absence.

Conclusion

Microsoft Teams Phone is revolutionising the way businesses communicate. Its integration, flexibility, and innovative features make it a must-have for modern businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve.

Get in Touch

Interested in discussing a business phone system tailored to your needs? Contact us today to explore how Microsoft Teams Phone can transform your communication strategy. Your next step towards seamless communication is just a call away.

Microsoft 365

Interested to learn more about 365 and the comprehensive suite of software it includes? Click here to find out more or Contact Us for a free 15 minute consultation.

In today’s digital age, businesses face numerous cyber threats that can jeopardise their operations, reputation, and financial stability. The increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks have prompted many organisations to evaluate their risk management strategies. One solution that has gained significant attention is cyber insurance. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of cyber insurance, who should consider it, and the benefits it offers.

Why Cyber Insurance Matters:

Cyber insurance serves as a safety net for businesses in the event of a cyber incident. It provides financial protection and support to mitigate the potentially devastating consequences of a data breach, cyberattack, or other cyber-related incidents. While every organisation faces different risks, there are certain companies that particularly stand to benefit from cyber insurance.

Companies at High Risk:

  1. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs): SMEs often lack robust cybersecurity measures and resources that larger enterprises possess. Cyber insurance can help bridge this gap and provide essential financial protection for SMEs in the event of a cyber incident.
  2. E-commerce and Online Businesses: Organisations that rely heavily on online transactions, store customer data, or handle sensitive information are attractive targets for cybercriminals. Cyber insurance can help these businesses recover from potential financial losses and protect their customers’ trust.
  3. Healthcare Providers: The healthcare industry deals with highly sensitive patient data, making it an appealing target for cyberattacks. Cyber insurance can help healthcare providers manage the legal and financial ramifications of data breaches and ensure patient confidentiality remains intact.
  4. Financial Institutions: Banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions handle substantial amounts of sensitive financial data. Cyber insurance can safeguard these organisations against financial losses, regulatory penalties, and reputational damage resulting from cyber incidents.

laptop on the screen lock. Cyber security, data protection concept, digital design

Benefits of Cyber Insurance:

  1. Financial Protection: Cyber insurance provides coverage for the costs associated with cyber incidents, such as forensic investigations, data recovery, legal expenses, public relations efforts, and potential lawsuits. It helps businesses avoid significant financial burdens that may arise from cyberattacks or data breaches.
  2. Business Continuity: Recovering from a cyber incident can be a lengthy and costly process. Cyber insurance provides financial support to ensure businesses can quickly restore their operations, minimising downtime and preserving customer trust.
  3. Reputation Management: A cyber incident can severely damage a company’s reputation. Cyber insurance often includes provisions for public relations and crisis management services, allowing businesses to handle the aftermath of an incident effectively and rebuild their reputation.
  4. Legal Compliance: Many industries are subject to data protection regulations, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Cyber insurance can assist organisations in meeting regulatory requirements, potentially reducing fines and penalties in case of non-compliance.
  5. Risk Assessment and Prevention: Some cyber insurance providers offer risk assessment services, helping businesses identify vulnerabilities in their cybersecurity measures. This proactive approach enables organisations to strengthen their security protocols and reduce the likelihood of cyber incidents.

Cyber Insurance: Complementing Robust Cybersecurity Measures

It is important to note that cyber insurance should not replace robust vulnerability management procedures and cybersecurity measures. Insurance serves as a complementary strategy to mitigate financial risks, but it cannot entirely prevent cyber incidents from occurring. Businesses should prioritise implementing comprehensive cybersecurity measures, including regular vulnerability assessments, employee training, strong access controls, and incident response plans. Cyber insurance should be seen as an additional layer of protection to manage the potential financial consequences of an incident.

Heliocentrix can empower your staff with a deeper understanding of cyber threats, bolstering their confidence in identifying and addressing them effectively. Click here to find out more.

Conclusion:

In today’s hyperconnected world, the question is not whether businesses should have cyber insurance, but rather when and how to obtain it. Cyber insurance provides essential financial protection, supports business continuity, and helps manage the potentially devastating consequences of cyber incidents. Companies across various industries, particularly SMEs, e-commerce businesses, healthcare providers, and financial institutions, should seriously consider cyber insurance to mitigate the risks associated with cyber threats. By investing in cyber insurance alongside robust vulnerability management procedures and cybersecurity measures, businesses can fortify their resilience, protect their stakeholders, and confidently navigate the evolving cybersecurity landscape.

In the digital era, small business security is a challenge for all business owners. Your business’s security is only as strong as its weakest link, and often, that link is an easily guessable or frequently reused password. This article will shed light on the potential risks of weak password practices and how a password manager, specifically Keeper, can mitigate these risks and substantially boost your company’s security.

A keyboard with post-it notes scattered across it. The post-it notes have simple passwords written on them demonstrating poor small business security.

The Risks of Weak Passwords

Even in 2023, the most commonly used passwords remain shockingly simple. “123456,” “password,” and “qwerty” still top the charts (as reported by CyberNews), and these are the first guesses for any cybercriminal. In the bustling environment of a small business, it’s understandable that employees might opt for something easy to remember, but these weak passwords pose a significant risk.

A weak password can lead to unauthorised access to your company’s data, potentially resulting in severe consequences. The same goes for reusing passwords. If an employee uses the same password across multiple accounts and one of those accounts is compromised, all accounts become vulnerable. Data breaches can lead to financial loss, damage to your company’s reputation, and even legal repercussions.

Brute Forcing Passwords

Brute forcing a password is a method used to uncover your password by systematically trying all possible combinations of characters until the correct one is found. It is an exhaustive and time-consuming technique, but it can be effective if the password is weak or if the attacker has significant computational resources at their disposal.

The graphic below shows how quickly a hacker can brute force a password based on the length and complexity.

A table showing the length of time it takes to brute force a password based on it's length and complexity.
Source: https://www.hivesystems.io/password

Clearly, we should all be using passwords of at least 12 characters containing numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and symbols. However, with the large number of systems and accounts in use for a single user, remembering those passwords would be a near impossible task.

The Strength of Password Management

So, what’s the solution? Enter Keeper, a leading password manager designed to add an extra layer of security to your business. Keeper simplifies the process of creating and maintaining strong, unique passwords for all your business’s accounts.

Password Generation: Keeper generates robust, randomised passwords that are highly resistant to hacking attempts. These passwords, which you don’t need to remember, can be as complex as the site allows, significantly increasing your security

Password Storage: Keeper securely stores all these complex passwords. You won’t need to worry about forgetting them, as Keeper stores them in a personal, encrypted digital vault.

Ease of Use: Even for those who aren’t tech-savvy, Keeper is straightforward to use. Its intuitive interface means you’ll spend less time worrying about passwords and more time focusing on your business. Keeper is available as both a browser extension and as a mobile app, meaning you’ll have your passwords available at your fingertips, whenever you need them.

The Security of Keeper’s Encryption

But how secure is Keeper? The answer lies in its encryption technology. Encryption is a method of scrambling data so that only someone with the correct key can unscramble it. Keeper uses what’s known as zero-knowledge security architecture, which means your data is encrypted and decrypted only at the device level – not on Keeper’s servers or anywhere else. This method ensures that only you have access to your information.

Keeper employs AES-256 bit encryption, one of the most secure encryption methods and the standard for governments and industries around the world. This encryption method is more secure than other options because it uses a larger key size, making it exponentially more difficult for hackers to crack.

In addition to Keepers secure encryption, it has other built in safeguards. For example, if someone tries to add your account to a new device, they won’t be able to unless your administrator approves it.

Conclusion

With cyber threats on the rise, there’s no better time than now to ensure your small business is as secure as it can be. By investing in Keeper, you’re not just buying a password manager – you’re buying peace of mind. With robust password generation, secure storage, ease of use, and world-class encryption technology, Keeper is the comprehensive security solution your small business needs.

Don’t let your business be the next victim of a preventable data breach. Step up your cybersecurity game with Keeper, and keep your business, your employees, and your customers safe.

Click the “Get in Touch” button below or Contact Us to find out how Keeper can increase your business security.

Introduction

In this article, we will guide you through the process of turning the pronouns feature on or off in Microsoft 365, along with instructions for individuals to add their pronouns.

Inclusivity and diversity play a vital role in cultivating a positive work environment. Recognising the significance of individual identity, Microsoft has introduced a new feature in M365 that allows users to include their preferred pronouns in their profiles. By enabling this feature, organisations can promote inclusivity and establish a more welcoming workspace for their employees.

Turning the Pronouns Feature On or Off

To enable or disable the pronouns feature in M365, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Sign in to the M365 admin centre using your global admin credentials.
  2. Go to the “Settings” > “Org settings” page, and select the “Security & privacy” tab.
  3. Click on “Pronouns”.A screenshot of the Microsoft Admin panel showing where to select the correct settings to turn on pronouns
  4. To enable the pronouns feature, check the “Turn on and allow pronouns” checkbox in the Pronouns pane. If you wish to disable the feature, clear the checkbox.
  5. Click “Save” to save your changes.

A screenshot of the microsoft admin portal showing where to tick to turn pronouns on for M365

Please note that when you turn the pronouns feature on or off in Microsoft 365, it may take up to seven hours for the changes to propagate throughout the organisation. For example, if you enable the pronouns feature, users may not see the option to add pronouns to their profiles for up to seven hours. Similarly, if you disable the pronouns feature, any previously set pronouns might remain visible on profiles for up to seven hours.

Adding Pronouns to Your Profile

Once the pronouns feature is enabled within your organisation, individuals can easily add their pronouns to their profiles. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open your profile card in either Microsoft Teams or Outlook on the web. In Microsoft Teams, you can do this by selecting your profile picture located in the upper right corner of the Teams interface and then clicking on your name. In Outlook on the web, click on your name or profile picture in Outlook Mail.
  2. On your profile card, find the “+ Pronouns” option or the pronouns listed below your name.
  3. Click on “+ Pronouns” or the existing pronouns.
  4. A window will appear where you can add or modify your pronouns. If available, you can choose from the provided examples (only available in English) or enter your own pronouns. To remove your pronouns, simply delete the existing ones.
  5. Select “Save” and then click “Got it.” Your changes will be immediately updated.

By following these steps, individuals can express their preferred pronouns and contribute to a more inclusive workplace environment.

Pronouns Best Practices

You can find out more about pronoun best practices on the Microsoft website 

Conclusion

M365’s pronouns feature empowers employees to communicate their preferred pronouns, fostering a more inclusive and respectful workplace. By following the steps outlined in this article, organisations can easily enable or disable the pronouns feature within the M365 admin centre. Additionally, individuals can add their pronouns to their profiles, further enhancing a sense of belonging and understanding. Embrace the power of pronouns and create a more inclusive environment for everyone in your organisation with M365.

If you are want to know more about Microsoft 365 click here or contact us.

Microsoft Edge is a fast, secure and modern web browser that offers a variety of features to make your online activities more productive and enjoyable. One of these features is the integration of AI Chat, a powerful chatbot powered by Bing and ChatGPT, an advanced natural language processing model.

AI Chat can help you with various tasks while browsing the web, such as composing emails, summarizing articles, generating captions for images, finding answers to questions, and more.

Before you start

Before you can access the new features you’ll need to make sure that you have the latest version of Microsoft Edge.

  1. Open Microsoft Edge
  2. Click the three dots in the top right
  3. Scroll down and highlight “Help & Feedback”
  4. Select “About Microsoft Edge”
  5. Edge will automatically check for and install updates
  6. You will be prompted to restart Edge

Microsoft Edge new AI features

AI Chat has three main components: chatbot, compose tool and insights. The chatbot allows you to have a natural conversation with AI Chat and ask for its assistance on various topics. For example, you can ask AI Chat to write a catchy subject line for your email or to suggest some keywords for your research paper. You can even select the tone the AI will use for it’s responses within the chat.

The compose tool helps you create content faster and easier by generating suggestions based on your input. For example, you can type “How to” in the compose tool and AI Chat will offer you some possible blog post titles or tutorial topics.

 

The insights feature provides you with relevant information and facts from Bing based on your query or context. For example, if you are reading an article about nuclear fusion experiments, AI Chat will show you some related news articles or Wikipedia entries.

AI Chat is designed to be helpful, friendly and engaging. It can also generate creative content such as jokes, poems or stories upon request. However, AI Chat is not perfect and may sometimes make mistakes or misunderstand your intent. Therefore, you should always review its output before using it for any purpose.

 

AI Chat is one of the many ways that Microsoft Edge can enhance your browsing experience. Try it out today and let us know what you think!

Find out how we streamlined Sevenoaks Town Council IT systems by moving them to Microsoft 365 

 

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of women around the world. In the tech industry, women have played a crucial role in driving innovation and progress. From Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, to modern-day leaders like Sheryl Sandberg, women have broken down barriers and inspired future generations of women to pursue careers in STEM. In this article, we’ll highlight five important women in tech who have shaped the industry and inspired others to follow in their footsteps.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace, a mathematician and writer, is widely regarded as the first computer programmer. She worked closely with Charles Babbage, the inventor of the Analytical Engine, a mechanical computer. Lovelace recognized the potential of the machine to do more than just basic calculations and wrote the first algorithm to be processed by a computer. Her work laid the foundation for modern-day programming and inspired generations of women to pursue careers in tech.

Ada Lovelace, 1838” by Nefi is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 .

Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper, a computer scientist and naval officer, developed the first compiler, a program that translates source code into machine code. Hopper was a pioneer in the field of programming languages and played a key role in the development of COBOL, one of the first high-level programming languages. Her dedication to advancing computer science and mentoring young programmers inspired many.

Grace hopper in 1952” by miss karen is licensed under CC BY 2.0 .

Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton, a computer scientist and systems engineer, developed the software for the Apollo spacecraft that landed on the moon. Her work was crucial to the success of the Apollo missions and laid the foundation for modern-day software development practices. Hamilton’s contributions inspired generations of women to pursue careers in STEM.

Margaret Hamilton” by Repsol is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 .

 

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, is known for her work in promoting diversity and inclusion in tech. Her bestselling book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” encourages women to pursue leadership positions in their careers. Sandberg’s leadership and advocacy have been instrumental in creating a more inclusive and diverse tech industry.

The Future of the Digital Economy: Sheryl Sandberg” by World Economic Forum is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 .

Reshma Saujani

Reshma Saujani, the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, is a vocal advocate for women in tech. Her non-profit organization teaches girls to code and aims to close the gender gap in tech. Saujani’s work has inspired countless young girls to pursue careers in tech and has helped create a more diverse and inclusive industry.

TED2016_021716_3BH9887_1920” by TED Conference is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 .

These are just a few of the many women who have made significant contributions to the tech industry. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us remember these inspiring leaders and continue to work towards a more inclusive and diverse tech industry.

Have you ever created a great document, only to realize that you also need to present the same information in a more visual way? Maybe you’re preparing a report for work or school, and you need to present your findings to an audience. Or maybe you’re creating a proposal for a client and want to make a strong impression with your presentation. Whatever your use case, exporting your Word document to PowerPoint can be a quick and easy way to add visuals to your content and make it more engaging for your audience.

Luckily, Microsoft has a built-in feature that allows you to export your Word document directly to PowerPoint with just a few clicks.

Step by Step Guide

Step 1: You’ll first need to open your document in Microsoft Word for the Web as this feature is currently only available there. The easiest way to do this is to go to onedrive.com, sign in, and open the document.

Step 2: Go to File > Export > Export to PowerPoint presentation.

How to create a PowerPoint Presentation from a Word Document Step 1

Step 3: Select from one of the suggested themes.

Step 4: Let the AI analyse your document and split it up into relevant slides and then click “Open Presentation”

Top Tip: Use headings in your Word Document to help the AI split it up into slides more accurately.

How to create a PowerPoint Presentation from a Word Document Step 3

Step 5: Go to “Editing” and then select “Open in Desktop App”. Alternatively, keep working in PowerPoint for the Web.

How to create a PowerPoint Presentation from a Word Document Step 4

Step 6: Go to the “Design” menu and click “Designer” on the far right, to make quick design changes to your slides.

How to create a PowerPoint Presentation from a Word Document Step 5

Step 7: Save your presentation and you’re ready to go.

With this simple export feature, you can save time and effort by not having to create a separate presentation from scratch. Plus, it allows you to make any necessary edits directly in PowerPoint, without having to copy and paste from Word. Keep in mind that the formatting may need to be adjusted to fit the PowerPoint slide layout, so be sure to preview the presentation and make any necessary changes before presenting. And with that, you’re ready to share your presentation with your audience!

Contact us today to learn how we can help you optimize your productivity with Microsoft 365.

Microsoft has recently launched Microsoft Teams Premium, an advanced version of its popular workplace app. The new licence gives access to a host of new features and incorporates the power of OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT.

The Microsoft Teams Premium package costs around £10 per user per month, with a discounted rate of £7 per user per month until June 30th, 2023. Let’s look at the various features this additional licence gives you access to.

Microsoft Teams

Ai-Powered Features

Microsoft have integrated with OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT to harness the power of AI to save you time and help you be more inclusive during virtual meetings.

Intelligent Recap

If you ever find yourself losing track of a tasks generated from a meeting and who was responsible for each item, then this is for you. Intelligent recap is capable of automatically generating tasks and assigning them to users for completion.

Meeting Transcript

Teams will also produce a more accurate transcript with added tools. Personalised time markers that highlight when you joined and left the meeting, markers f when your name was mentioned, or you shared your screen help you find key points, more quickly.

AI Live Translation

The power of AI also allows for live captions to be produced in 40 different languages. Each user can select their preferred language for captions, meaning a multi-lingual meeting can happen in real time without the need for translators.

Save Time with Meeting Templates

The new meeting template feature allows you to create and customise your own meeting templates. Set up templates to include settings such as who can present, if the meeting should be automatically recorded, and whether mics and cameras should be allowed for guests. Then simply create a new meeting using the template from within your calendar.

Keep Your Data Secure with Extra Security Options

A premium teams licence also gives you access to some additional security options that can help protect company data.

Watermark

Deter leaks by turning on watermarks. This will display the users email address over the top of all shared content and camera feeds. Therefore, if any attendees decide to leak information you will know who it was.

End-to-end encryption

With a Team’s premium license, you can also enable end-to-end encryption for your meetings. Encrypting the audio, video, and text content of the meeting makes it extremely difficult for anyone to intercept the data or access it.

Host Professional Webinars with Added Functionality

Webinars are a popular and effective way for businesses, organizations, and individuals to communicate with their audience. It’s important for webinars to be professional to build trust, enhance engagement and establish your brand identity. The below features can help you do that.

Personalisation

Make your brand the centre of everything you do with personalised lobby rooms displaying your chosen background and accent colours to match.

Automated Reminders

Ensure your attendees don’t forget about your webinar by sending automatic reminder emails in the lead up to your event.

Manage Attendees

If your webinar is limited to a fixed number of attendees, you can enable a waitlist to track and approve users if others drop-out.

Behind the scenes

Additional tools allow you to manage your webinar more professionally. A separate green room for presenters allows you to prepare before they go live and additional tools ensure you can easily manage who and what your attendees can see on their screens.

One Premium Licence Opens the Door to all these Features

If you are worried that spending out on a premium licence will be a waste of money if your clients and attendees don’t have the same license, then fear not. Other than intelligent recap, Microsoft have made all features available to all attendees of a meeting provided the host has a premium license.

Is it time to start integrating your business with AI tools?

The use of tools that automate routine tasks in employees’ workflows is now common in many software applications. The growth of AI-powered software like ChatGPT, which is known for its versatility and efficiency, has created a buzz in the technology sector. To ensure business remain productive and are enabled to grow, it is essential they integrate with advancements in technology.

Want to know more?

You can find out more and view screenshots on Microsoft’s Website.

Watch the Microsoft Teams Premium how-to video which shows more in depth how the different features work.

Find out how Heliocentrix introduced Sevenoaks Town Council to reliable IT systems and support with Microsoft 365.

In today’s digital age, staying focused and productive can be a real challenge. With so many distractions at our fingertips, it’s important to find ways to stay on track and achieve our goals. Apple and Android’s Focus mode offers a solution, by allowing users to set up a dedicated work profile that minimizes distractions, you can optimize your mobile device for productivity.

Focus mode is a more granular version of the traditional “Do Not Disturb”. It gives you more control over which apps and notifications are turned off. This flexibility can be useful if you need to retain some of your phone functions, such as calls or messages, for work related activities but turn off your social media apps at the same time.

Here’s how to optimize your mobile device for maximum productivity with Focus mode:

Optimising your iOS Mobile Device

  1. Start by opening the Settings app and selecting “Screen Time.
  2. Enable Screen Time and follow the prompts to set up the feature.
  3. Find “Focus mode” under the Screen Time options.
  4. Turn on Focus mode and select the apps you want to hide during the focus period.
  5. Schedule when Focus mode will be active. This can be done either by setting the hours it will be on or using GPS to set it only on by the location.
  6. Choose whether to receive important notifications during Focus mode, or to have all notifications hidden.
  7. To exit Focus mode, simply tap the toggle in the Control Centre.

Tip: Using location-based scheduling will mean you don’t need to worry about turning focus mode off when you are on annual leave and can be beneficial if you work shifts or irregular hours. However, location-based scheduling won’t work as well if you don’t work from a single location.

Optimising your Android Mobile Device

  1. Go to your device’s settings and select “Digital Wellbeing & parental controls.”
  2. Enable Digital Wellbeing and follow the prompts to set it up. If you are using a Samsung device you will need to select “Ways to Disconnect” after accessing “Digital Wellbeing”.
  3. Go to “Focus mode” under the Digital Wellbeing options.
  4. Turn on Focus mode and select the apps you want to pause during your focus period.
  5. Schedule when you would like Focus Mode to start and finish by selecting “Schedule” and entering the start and finish times across a 7-day week.
  6. When Focus mode is active, the selected apps will be greyed out and you won’t receive notifications from them.
  7. To exit Focus mode, simply go back to the Digital Wellbeing settings and turn it off.

Samsung: To set the schedule on a Samsung device the process differs somewhat. See the section below for detailed instructions.

Take a break: Android will allow you to “Take a Break” from Focus Mode for a set period of 5, 15 or 30 minutes. Simply swipe down to view the Focus Mode notification and click “Take a Break”. You can also click on any greyed-out app to access it for 5 minutes.

Scheduling focus mode on a Samsung device:

  1. Go to your device’s “Settings” app.
  2. Select “Advanced features” and then “Bixby routines”.
  3. Tap the “+” icon in the top right corner to create a new routine.
  4. Give the routine a name, such as “Focus mode”.
  5. In the “When” section, choose “Time” and set the start and end times for when you want the routine to activate.
  6. In the “Actions” section, tap “Add action” and select “Focus mode”.
  7. Choose “Turn on” for the Focus mode action.
  8. In the “Actions” section, you can also add any additional actions you want to occur when the routine activates, such as turning on Wi-Fi or changing the sound profile.
  9. Tap “Save” to complete the setup.

By setting up a work profile with Focus mode, you can optimize your mobile device for maximum productivity and minimize distractions. Give it a try and see how it can help you achieve your goals and stay focused.

Read how we helped a London Investment company make their IT more efficient: IT Support for London investment consultancy Hyde Park Investment (heliocentrix.co.uk)

With the ever-increasing number of makes and models of laptops, desktops, monitors and docks it can often seem overwhelming trying to work out what the best laptop setup is for you and your business. Not only do you want your configuration to provide the flexibility you need to ensure you can work in the office and on the go, but also that everything will work together seamlessly so that your working hours can be as pain free as possible, at least from an IT perspective. Our extensive knowledge and wide client base has given us the opportunity to test a variety of configurations and below we have set out our recommended laptop setup.

Recommended laptop configuration components

Laptop: HP X360

Screen: Phillips 40” UltraWide LCD Monitor

Keyboard and Mouse: Flexible to fit whichever you find most comfortable to use.

HP X360

The HP-X360 has a number of features that make it an excellent laptop for flexible working. All models have 360 degree rotation which means it can go from laptop mode into tablet mode in a matter of seconds. The 360 degree rotation also offers the ability to work in tent mode at your preferred angle which is perfect for watching videos or giving presentations.

The touch screen makes tablet mode easy to use and allows the laptop to function as a drawing pad for architects, artists or anyone wanting to get creative. The X360 in tablet mode can also be used when connected via a dock to a screen. This allows the device to make use of a secondary keyboard and mouse plugged into the dock.

There are a variety of models which provide a range of screen sizes, RAM and hard-drives to suit all needs. Additionally, the X360 has great battery life which makes this device perfect for on-the-go as well as in the office.

Philips 40” UltraWide LCD Monitor

Having tested different ultrawide monitors we believe the Phillips 40” UltraWide offers great functionality without the higher price tag of other models.

With a built-in dock you can access the display, any connected hardware such as your keyboard, mouse and headset, and charge your device all with a single cable. Not only does this reduce the number of wires trailing out the back of your laptop but means you can dock in and out in much less time.

The UltraWide display gives you roughly the same screen size as two standard separate monitors but without the frames. It also allows you flexibility in how you set up your screens allowing you to have multiple windows in a variety of configurations.

This monitor also has a built in KVM switch which allows you to control two separate PCs using the same monitor, keyboard and mouse setup on the switch of a single button. The LED display offers vivid colours and clear, crisp images which makes it excellent for all users. On the lower end of the technical spectrum the monitor also offers a useful hook for hanging your headset in an easily accessible position.

an laptop plugged into a docking monitor comprising our recommended laptop configuration

A powerful combination

When combined this configuration offers a powerful mix of performance and flexibility that means this is the recommended laptop configuration for your business. The UltraWide screen allows for complete control over your viewing preferences and simple, single cable docking while the laptop provides an additional screen when docked and the complete freedom to work from home or on-the-go when required.

If you want to upgrade your current setup please contact us below and one of our expert team can provide a quote.

Alternatively, you can find out more about the IT support we provide across Kent