Say goodbye to video call pop-ups (and Teams meeting blushes)

Say goodbye to video call pop-ups (and Teams meeting blushes)

Picture this: You’re on an important video call with a client, confidently presenting your latest project updates.

Suddenly, a notification pops up on your screen from your significant other, reminding you (not so discreetly) about the damage your child did during their temper tantrum this morning. Or worse, a message from your gym reminding you of your long absence.

Embarrassing, right?

We all know the struggle of trying to maintain professionalism during video calls while secretly battling the fear of embarrassing pop-ups stealing the show. But Microsoft is on it. They’re reportedly working on a much-needed feature that could save us all from these cringeworthy moments.

Imagine being able to hide specific apps entirely while you’re on a Teams call. No more worrying about intrusive notifications stealing your thunder. This means you can say goodbye to awkward interruptions from messaging apps, or reminders that you’d rather keep private.

How does it work? According to reports, Microsoft’s new feature won’t just minimise apps to the taskbar like the current workaround. Instead, it’ll completely hide them from sight, sparing you from any unexpected surprises (and blushes).

And the best part? It’s not just about saving face. This feature could also help boost your device’s performance. By keeping those apps in the background, you free up valuable computing power and resources.

If you’ve ever found yourself frantically closing apps and browser windows to ensure a smooth video stream, this could be the end of that struggle. With the new feature, you can focus on what truly matters during your calls without worrying about technical hiccups or embarrassing distractions.

While we’re excited about the potential of this new feature, we’ll have to wait and see if it becomes a reality. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the official Microsoft 365 roadmap for any updates and will keep you informed.

In the meantime, if we can help make your business’s video calls run more smoothly, get in touch.

The secrets to make your laptop battery live longer

The secrets to make your laptop battery live longer

Could you imagine what it must have been like doing business 30 years ago, before you had a decent laptop?

It’s a horrible thought. And one that you only need to consider now and then, when you have an hour’s worth of work to do… but only 30 mins left on your laptop battery. Nightmare.

No one wants to be caught in the dreaded low battery limbo during a crucial meeting or presentation. But with a little know-how, you can extend your laptop battery’s lifespan and keep it running optimally for years to come.

Understanding your battery is key. Most laptops today rely on lithium-ion batteries, which have a finite number of charge cycles. A charge cycle equals a full discharge from 0% to 100%, and each cycle diminishes the battery’s capacity.

The golden rule? Avoid full discharges whenever possible… which means, don’t let the battery run out completely.

Let’s dive into your laptop’s power settings to customise your battery preferences. Hibernation mode is your friend – it kicks in before your battery hits rock bottom. And don’t forget to activate Battery Saver mode, a godsend for preserving power when your battery is running on fumes.

Next, it’s time to declutter. Close background apps and say goodbye to unnecessary power drains. Toggle off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they’re not in use and dim screen brightness to conserve energy.

But what about charging etiquette? Contrary to popular belief, keeping your laptop plugged in won’t harm your battery – modern devices are smarter than you think. Just steer clear of extreme temperatures and never let your battery dip below 20% if you can help it.

When it comes to storing your laptop for a little longer than usual, put it away with around 50% charge. And if you’re ever in doubt, some battery apps offer real-time insights into your battery’s health.

Lastly, stay on top of software updates. New patches and upgrades can optimise performance and minimise energy consumption, giving your battery a new lease of life.

We help businesses round here get the most from their devices for as long as possible. If we can do the same for you, get in touch.

1 in 4 people struggle with password overload. Here’s the answer

1 in 4 people struggle with password overload. Here’s the answer

Are you tired of juggling a multitude of passwords like a circus act? You’re not alone. According to a recent report, around 1 in 4 of us feel the same. But it’s not just the sheer number of passwords that’s causing headaches – it’s the security risks they pose.

Let’s face it, when it comes to setting passwords, most people aren’t cyber security experts. From weak and easily guessable passwords to the cardinal sin of reusing passwords across multiple accounts, human error is everywhere.

Another study revealed that, on average, people use the same password for five different accounts. And don’t get us started on classics like ‘123456’… used on a mind-boggling 23 million breached accounts.

But here’s the thing: Cyber criminals don’t need any extra help. They’re already pros at cracking passwords, and our lax habits are like an open invitation to wreak havoc. And let’s not forget the staggering stats – a projected $434 billion (£347 billion) loss to online payment fraud globally between 2024 and 2027, with 90% of data leaks attributed to stolen login details.

So, what’s the solution?

Password managers.

These are essential software tools that take the hassle out of password management by generating and storing complex, unique passwords for each account. No more ‘123456’ disasters. Just robust security.

And the best part? Password managers not only beef up your security defences but they also streamline your digital life. With one-click logins and autofill features, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one. And with the right password manager, you can rest easy knowing your sensitive data is under lock and key.

A password manager makes your life easier and business safer at the same time. Want to know which one we recommend? Get in touch.

Cyber security training once a year isn’t working

Cyber security training once a year isn’t working

Cyber security training once a year isn’t working

We all know how important it is to keep our people up-to-date on the latest cyber threats. After all, with cyber attacks on the rise, staying one step ahead is crucial to protect your business from potential breaches.

But here’s the thing – annual cyber security training just isn’t cutting it anymore.

Sure, it’s become a routine part of the calendar for many organisations. And it’s great that it’s happening at all. But ask any security leader, and they’ll tell you… employees find it time-consuming and uninspiring. From clicking through slides to skimming through videos at double-speed, it’s usually seen as just another box to tick.

And let’s be honest, even for those who do engage with the training, there’s little evidence it leads to real behaviour change.

That’s because the traditional approach lacks interactivity and doesn’t connect with employees on a personal level. It’s more about ticking boxes than building a culture of cyber security vigilance.

Guess what? There’s a better way. It’s all about small, regular, human-centric interventions. Think of it like the speed signs you see when you’re driving. They remind people to stop and think before they engage in risky behaviour. Just as the signs work for driving, this kind of training makes your employees more aware of what they’re clicking.

By nudging employees toward safer decisions in real-time, we can help them develop better cyber hygiene habits without overwhelming them with information overload. It’s about empowering them to make smarter choices every day.

And with the amount of Generative AI and third-party tools we’re surrounded with right now, it’s more important than ever to give employees the guidance they need to navigate potential risks. Whether it’s through real-time coaching or policy reminders, we can help employees understand the importance of safeguarding sensitive data.

So, while there may be a place for annual training, it’s time to think about using a more proactive approach to cyber security education.

This is something we can help you with. If you want to learn more, get in touch.

Copilot is bringing another productivity boost to Teams

Copilot is bringing another productivity boost to Teams

If you’re all about doing everything you can to help your team max their productivity (who wouldn’t want that, right?), then you’re going to love what Microsoft Teams has in store for us with its latest Copilot upgrades.

Imagine, you’re mid-Teams meeting, brainstorming like there’s no tomorrow. Ideas are flying all over the place! Even the quickest note-taker among you isn’t going to remember it all.

Never mind. Copilot’s got it. It can transcribe your conversation and understand your live chat, then summarise the most valuable insights.

It doesn’t stop there. Ever wish you could hit “undo” on a chat message and reword your response? Copilot can help with that too. In fact, it can come up with a fresh message suggestion right there in the chat. That could save you lots of time – and brain power.

Copilot’s call recap tool can help with normal phone calls too. Teams Premium subscribers will benefit from handy recaps. It’s like having that personal assistant you always wished for (but you still have to make your own coffee).

Microsoft’s also made IntelliFrame the default setting for video calls. What’s that, you ask? It uses AI to identify the individual video feeds of all participants so that everyone gets their moment in the spotlight during Teams Rooms calls. It also means no more awkwardly cropped faces or disappearing attendees.

Smoother team collaboration, more insightful meetings, and video calls that look like they’re straight out of Hollywood… who doesn’t want that?!

If you’re not already maxing Teams in your business, we can help. Get in touch.

Uh oh! You’re at greater risk of malware than ever before

Uh oh! You’re at greater risk of malware than ever before

Uh oh! You’re at greater risk of malware than ever before

Here’s something not-so-fun but incredibly important to talk about: Malware attacks.

And it’s bad news. These scary cyber threats are hitting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) harder than ever before. That means you need to know how you can defend your business.

First things first, what exactly is malware?

Think of it as the digital equivalent of the germs that make you sick. Malware, short for malicious software, is like the flu virus of the cyber world. It’s designed to sneak into your computer systems or network and wreak havoc in all sorts of ways.

So, what kinds of malware are we talking about here?

Well, according to a recent report, there are a few major troublemakers: Information-stealing malware, ransomware, and business email compromise (BEC).

You might be wondering why you should care about malware. Let me set the scene. You’re running your business smoothly, minding your own business, when BAM! A malware attack hits.

Suddenly, your files are encrypted, your systems are locked down, and you’re being held hostage for ransom.

Sounds like a nightmare, right?

That’s the reality for many SMBs facing malware attacks. It’s not just about losing money – it’s about the potential damage to your reputation, your operations, and your customers’ trust.

But there are plenty of ways to fight back against malware and keep your business safe and sound:

Educate your team

Teach your employees to spot phishing emails (an email pretending to be from someone you trust), suspicious links, and other sneaky tactics used by cyber criminals. A little awareness goes a long way.

Armour up your devices

Make sure all your computers and devices are equipped with the best software to prevent attacks.

Back up, back up, back up

Regularly back up your data to secure offsite locations. That way, if you are attacked, you’ll have a backup plan (literally) to restore your files.

Fortify your network

Improve your network security with firewalls, encryption, and other powerful weapons. We can help with all of that.

Stay sceptical

Be cautious of suspicious emails or requests for sensitive information. When in doubt, double-check the sender’s identity and never click on risky links or attachments.

Have a plan

Prepare an incident response plan for dealing with malware attacks. Think of it as your emergency playbook, complete with steps for containing the threat, recovering your data, and reporting the incident. That’s a lot to take in, but remember, knowledge is power. These are all things we help our clients with, so they don’t have to worry about it. If we can help you too, ge

Be more productive with these Microsoft Edge features

Be more productive with these Microsoft Edge features

Be more productive with these Microsoft Edge features

Improving productivity is a never-ending mission for most business owners and managers.

Whether it’s speeding up tasks or improving communication, every little helps. So it’s crucial to make the most of the tools you already have.

And while you might think of your web browser as just a means to access the internet, it can be so much more than that. Especially if you use Microsoft Edge in Windows 11. It has loads of features that can help supercharge your productivity.

Here are five of our favourites.

1. Split Screen for multitasking

Multitasking is a skill every business owner needs, and Microsoft Edge’s split screen feature makes it easier than ever. Whether you’re comparing web pages, researching multiple topics, or simply keeping an eye on different sites simultaneously, split screen lets you view two pages side-by-side within the same tab. It’s like having two windows open at once, but without the clutter.

2. Vertical Tabs for streamlined navigation

Too many tabs? Yeah… we understand that. Microsoft Edge’s vertical tabs offer a fresh perspective on tab management. By stacking tabs vertically along the side of the browser window, you can easily navigate between open tabs and access essential controls like close and mute.

3. Workspaces for seamless collaboration

Collaboration is key in any business, and Microsoft Edge’s Workspaces feature makes it easier than ever to work well with colleagues or clients. Create a workspace with a collection of open tabs, then share it with others via a simple link. It means they can open multiple tabs with one click. It’s perfect for brainstorming sessions, project management, or team presentations.

4. Collections for organised research

Gathering information from the web is a common task. Microsoft Edge’s Collections feature makes this easier, allowing you to easily save and organise text, images, and videos from web pages into custom collections. Stay organised, focused, and productive.

5: Immersive Reader for distraction-free reading

When you need to focus on reading an article or document online, distractions on the page can be a pain. Microsoft Edge’s Immersive Reader feature provides a clutter-free reading experience by removing ads, links, and other interruptions. Customise the text size, spacing, and colour scheme to suit your preferences, and even have the content read aloud for hands-free reading.

If your business doesn’t already use Microsoft Edge on Windows 11, this could be the perfect time to switch. Can we help you move over? Get in touch.

Is this the most dangerous phishing scam yet?

Is this the most dangerous phishing scam yet?

Picture this: You’re going about your day, checking your emails, when suddenly you see a message from a company you trust.

You think, “Great! That’s safe to read”. But hold on just one minute… this email is not what it seems.

It’s part of yet another scam created by cyber criminals to trick you into clicking malicious links or giving up sensitive info. It’s called “SubdoMailing,” and it’s as dangerous as it sounds.

What’s the deal?

Just like regular phishing attacks, cyber criminals pretend to be trusted brands.

But here’s how it works: These cyber criminals scour the internet for subdomains of reputable companies. You know those extra bits in a web address that come before the main domain? Such as experience.trustedbrand.com. That ‘experience’ bit is the subdomain.

They find a subdomain that the brand is no longer using and is still pointing to an external domain that’s no longer registered.

Then they buy the domain and set up the scam website.

So, you believe you’re clicking on experience.trustedbrand.com… but you have no idea it automatically redirects to scamwebsite.com.

The criminals are sending out five million emails a day targeting people in businesses just like yours.

And because these emails are coming from what seems like a legit source, they often sail right past usual security checks and land in your inbox.

Here’s our advice to keep you and your data safe and sound:

  • Be wary of any emails that seem even remotely suspicious. If something looks fishy, it probably is.
  • Before clicking on any links or downloading any attachments, take a moment to verify the sender. Look for red flags like spelling mistakes or unusual email addresses.
  • Make sure your employees understand the latest phishing tactics and know how to spot a scam. A little knowledge goes a long way in keeping your company safe.
  • Consider investing in top-notch security software to keep the cyber criminals at bay. It might seem like an extra expense, but trust us, it’s worth it.

As always, if you need help with this or any other aspect of your email security, get in touch.

Is Wi-Fi 7 worth the investment?

Is Wi-Fi 7 worth the investment?

You know that staying ahead of the technology curve is vital for all businesses in a highly competitive marketplace. One innovation launched earlier this year is Wi-Fi 7, the next generation of wireless connection.

But what exactly does it offer, and is it worth the investment for your business?

  • Lightning-fast speeds: No more buffering and lagging. Wi-Fi 7 brings blazing-fast speeds to keep your business running smoothly.
  • Rock-solid connections: Forget all about dropped calls or lost connections. Wi-Fi 7 ensures reliable performance, even in busy environments.
  • Futureproofing: Wi-Fi 7 is built to handle the demands of tomorrow’s tech. It’s future-proofing your business’s internet.

Now, here’s the million-dollar question: Should you upgrade to Wi-Fi 7? Well, it depends. While Wi-Fi 7 offers some awesome benefits, it can be a bit pricey to upgrade.

The initial investment includes the expense of next-gen routers capable of supporting Wi-Fi 7, which can range from hundreds up to thousands. And there may also be ongoing operational costs, especially if you’re leasing routers from internet service providers.

If you’re not ready to dive into Wi-Fi 7 just yet, that’s ok. There are plenty of other ways to improve your business’s existing Wi-Fi. From optimising your current set-up to adding extenders or mesh networks, there are options to fit every budget.

We’re all about making sure you find the perfect tech solutions for your business to keep you and your team happy. If you’d like to go through your options, get in touch.

Cyber attacks: Stronger, faster and more sophisticated

Cyber attacks: Stronger, faster and more sophisticated

A new security report has revealed some alarming trends.

First off, cyber attacks are becoming faster than ever. Breakout times (that’s the time it takes for a criminal to move within your network after first getting in) have dropped significantly. We’re talking an average of just 62 minutes compared to 84 minutes last year.

This is not good news.

Not only are these attacks faster, but they’re also becoming more common. The report has identified a whopping 34 new cyber criminal groups, bringing the total to over 230 groups tracked by the company.

And guess what? These cyber criminals aren’t sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They’re getting smarter and more sophisticated. The report highlights a new record breakout time of just two minutes and seven seconds. That’s barely enough time to grab a coffee, let alone mount a defence.

But here’s the real kicker: The human factor is increasingly becoming the main entry point for these cyber attacks.

They will try to get your people to click a link in a phishing email, which will take them to a fake login page. Once your employee enters their real login details, they have inadvertently handed them over.

Or they pretend to be someone your team trusts. This is called social engineering.

So, what can you do to protect your business from these cyber threats?

  • Educate your employees

Make sure your team is aware of the latest cyber threats and how to spot them. Regular training sessions can go a long way in preventing costly mistakes.

  • Implement strong password policies

Encourage the use of complex random passwords generated and remembered by password managers. Use multi-factor authentication for an added layer of security (this is where you use a second device to confirm it’s really you logging in).

  • Keep your systems updated

Make sure all software and systems are up to date with the latest security patches. Cyber criminals often exploit known vulnerabilities, so staying current is key.

  • Invest in cyber security software

Consider investing in reputable cyber security software that can help detect and mitigate threats in real-time (we can help with this).

  • Back-up your data

Regularly back-up your data and store it in a secure location. In the event of a cyber attack, having backups can help minimise downtime and data loss.

When it comes to cyber security, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If we can help you to stay better prepared, get in touch.