Daryl Daniels, Author at HCS
Office 365 or G-Suite, Why SMBs Choose Office 365

Office 365 or G-Suite, Why SMBs Choose Office 365

Productivity tools such as Word processing and spreadsheets have become a vital part of daily workflows for all businesses. As Microsoft continues to grow and businesses increasingly seek cloud-based resources with familiar user experiences, many companies adopt Microsoft Office 365. There are many reasons why SMBs often choose Microsoft Office 365 as opposed to other cloud services such as Google, some of these reasons are;

 

Security

Both Office 365 and G-Suite ensure your business’ sensitive data is secure, however, Office 365 tends to offer stricter security measures to protect users against cyber threats. Office 365‘s enhanced security offering includes some anti-spam and antivirus protection, encrypted access to data and enhanced security with Multi-Factor Authentication.

Microsoft Office 365 is committed to confidentiality, integrity and availability, allowing business continuity to be unaffected in the event of a data breach or physical disaster.

In relation to G-Suite, although Google adheres to a single privacy policy, which is shared across business and customer apps. Due to this, Google’s data protections may not address certain business security requirements.

Innovation

Innovation has always been at the core of Microsoft Office 365’s success. When investing in Office 365, businesses are not only investing in current services but also the services that Microsoft will develop over time.

As of yet, Google has yet to invest as much as Microsoft in solutions, which has encouraged many users to switch from G-Suite to Office 365.

Choosing the right IT Partner to assist you in migrating to Office 365 is a very important choice for your business. Partnering with HCS Business Solutions can ensure your cloud migration journey is as seamless as possible. HCS Business Solutions is a Microsoft Gold Partner with many years of experience in Microsoft Technologies. To learn more about Office 365 and cloud computing contact our team!

Reliability

Office 365 ‘s products and services have been refined and grown over decades of use and user feedback. At the moment, Microsoft is one of few cloud service providers that offer a financially backed service level agreement (SLA) when any Office 365 product drops below 99.9% availability.

Office 365 allows users to scale products up or down, depending on the business need. These web-hosted services enable businesses to maintain low costs while fixed-price plans easily allow companies to plan and budget for the future.

Unfortunately, Google’s G-Suite reliability is not as responsive to users needs, as Google does not recognise downtime until a minimum of 5% of its user base is affected.

Familiarity

Users of Office 365 enjoy a consistent experience across Office 365’s various platforms and devices, both online and offline. The familiarity of Office 365 is one of the reasons Office 365 is a favourite amongst SMBs worldwide. Office 365’s functionality should also be noted as being superior in cloud technology, allowing users to access documents anywhere, at any time and on any device.

In comparison, G-Suite has a relatively inconsistent user experience across services, which causes users to become less productive. It currently has limited offline capabilities, which tends to restrict users who wish to access data when on the go. Users may also encounter problems when sharing documents as Office 365 documents cannot be shared to G-Suite unless converted to Google’s native format, which may lead to formatting issues.

To learn more about Office 365 or to start your Cloud Migration journey complete the form below!

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Ensure Your Hotel Remains Secure In The Data Rich Hospitality Industry

Ensure Your Hotel Remains Secure In The Data Rich Hospitality Industry

It is well known that customer data is a powerful tool in the hospitality industry. These insights can allow hotels to provide a personalised experience that helps them create relationships with their guests. Although many hotels utilise this data, they must also ensure that it is stored securely.

In the weeks leading up to the introduction of GDPR, many businesses in the hospitality industry scrambled to become GDPR compliant. For many businesses, it was the first time they thought about the guest data they possessed, and what protocols they should adopt to ensure the privacy rights of guests. Since the introduction of GDPR, many hospitality businesses have begun an ongoing journey that requires hotels to take a diligent approach to data collection, storage and usage. Data security is not just a small process in a business, it is a core component of all business strategies.

 

Data Collection and GDPR Compliance

Before a hotel can efficiently protect guest data, the business must understand what type of data is being collected, how it is stored and how is the data being used.

Through evaluating the data hotels collect, they can identify which information is most valuable to cybercriminals and ensure this data is secure.

Within the hospitality industry, there are 3 primary forms of data that are collected, these are: personal data, preference data and transaction data. Personal data includes the basic information of guests, including their name, date of birth and contact information. Preference data is generally tracked by hotels to help them fully understand what their guests prefer, this includes room type, minibar preferences, late check-out requests, etc. Finally, transaction data is collected through a point of sale or property management system, etc. These generally include credit card details and more.

Cybercriminals are generally most interested in personal information and transaction data. Businesses must be aware of which information is most valuable to cybercriminals in order to effectively store it.

Train Your Team!

When a reservation is taken over the phone, many hotel employees will input it directly into the hotel’s property management system, which may be accessible by many different levels of employees.

These team members may or may not have been trained in data security protocols. When guest data is readily available for employees across a business, hotels must ask themselves who is handling the data and what type of data is being handled (e.g. credit card information, guest information, etc). From this, a business can segment what team members can access by enforcing strict permissions.

One of the biggest risks in data security comes from employees exporting data found in internal systems. When data is exported and shared through unsecured channels, information can be at risk instantly.

The first step in increasing data security within a business is to ensure every employee is trained on data security and is comfortable with the data they are handling on a regular basis. These employees should also understand what types of data should not be shared through unsecured or unsanctioned channels. Hotels can prevent data breaches and leaks by assigning permissions to team members, e.g. defining which team members can view data and who can export data. All users who have access to internal data should log in through Multi-Factor Authentication

In relation to IT within the hospitality industry, there has been a dramatic shift from on-premises technologies to cloud-based software. Due to this, many cloud-native applications now operate on smartphones and tablets which allows team members to access data on the go, because of this businesses must put processes in place to ensure data remains secure.

This BYOD trend that is growing in businesses of all industries creates many data protection and access challenges for businesses. However utilising a secure cloud solution, such as Office 365 or Microsoft SharePoint and embracing Multi-Factor Authentication can deter cybercriminals from accessing essential data.

Choosing the appropriate IT Partner for your business is an essential step in securing your business’ network and data. At HCS Business Solutions we are proven experts in securing a business’ data. Our proactive approach ensures your data remains protected against ever-evolving cyber threats.

With the continuous advancements in digital technology, businesses cannot compromise security and performance. Hackers are continuously discovering sophisticated methods to infiltrate your business’ networks. As Fortinet partners, we are recognised experts in Network Security. While introducing improved cybersecurity techniques in your business, you must understand your business’ external vulnerabilities that a hacker may seek to exploit. Our External Vulnerability Testing highlights the safety of your IT network from an outward presence and demonstrates where you can minimise the consequences of an attack.

Security Should Be A Priority

Although data protection laws are enforced, businesses are expected to comply with them, therefore having an appropriate data security system makes business sense.

The government cannot be aware of a rogue employee sharing confidential information. The strongest protection for hospitality operators is to first and foremost, ensure all employees know the best practices of data protection and the external factors that affect data security.

Hotels are continuously evolving their service offerings, whether a hotel takes bookings through social media or offers an AI Assistant in their rooms, hospitality businesses are increasing their engagement with customers and their data. While this technology and data benefits both the hotel and guests, it must be protected and managed appropriately, this includes what is collected, who has access to it and how it is used, this ensures that data remains secure within your hotel.

Contact us and learn more!

Appropriate security protocols are essential for all businesses, however as hotels and other businesses within the hospitality industry have access to the personal data of both employees and customers, they must ensure that data is secure from security breaches and cybercriminals.

To learn more about how partnering with HCS Business Solutions can benefit your business email enquiries@hcs.ie or complete the contact form below!

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Implement Data Governance With Office 365

Implement Data Governance With Office 365

Data is essential to business monitoring, in particular measuring the success of certain processes, campaigns and activities. The data businesses use and how they use it, greatly affects their success, as many view it as a critical driver of success. As technology is continuously advancing, modern businesses must now work with complex data flows, increased volumes of information, possible resource issues and many sources of data. Due to these many factors, Data Governance has become a pillar of best-practice data management within businesses.

Many businesses may ask themselves, ‘what is data governance?’ or ‘how do you enact it?’

What is Data Governance?

Data Governance is a data management concept that involves a variety of pillars to assist businesses in their data management processes. These pillars are:

  • Availability
  • Usability
  • Consistency
  • Data Integrity
  • Data Security

Many view data governance as ‘data management’ or ‘data security’, although both of these are related to data governance, they do not fully encapsulate data governance and its scope. Data governance generally covers the entire lifecycle of your business’ data. This may also include a combination of strategies, processes and technologies. Office 365 is generally the most convenient data governance solution for many businesses, as the majority of businesses are already utilising Office 365.

Office 365 & Data Governance

Availability

Do all of your employees have access to data when needed?

This can be difficult to manage, however, allowing authorised team members to access the data they require to do their job with ease can help your business increase productivity and collaboration. This also encourages your team members to ensure data is organised and up to date at all times.

Two Office 365 tools that can assist in data availability are:

1.SharePoint: Not only does SharePoint allow you to store all data in one source, but it also allows you to organise data and set permissions of access, monitor users and set up collaboration networks. SharePoint truly is a modern collaboration and communication tool. Its innovative features can handle complex workflows, and most importantly, SharePoint allows users to access data from anywhere on any device.

2.OneDrive: Many users view OneDrive as an individual storage solution, however it has powerful collaboration capabilities. As many employees store their data in OneDrive business can gather unique analytics from this program.

Usability

Although availability is the first step in data governance, businesses must ensure that it is also usable.

Data usability is generally categorised into 5 segments:

Accuracy: For data to be truly usable, it should be accurate. Incomplete data and errors can reduce the effectiveness of data.

Connectivity: Data must be able to flow between sources. If two sources do not connect, usability will be affected between sources.

Standardisation: All data should be stored in a standardised format.

Metadata: Metadata assists your business in giving data not only structure but also purpose.

Population: If your business has appropriate accuracy, connectivity, standardisation and metadata, your business can still have data which is unusable if it cannot populate. Your business must ensure that data populates when it is required.

There are many Microsoft Office 365 tools that can assist your business with data usability, such as:

PowerBI: Visual data is possibly one of the most effective ways of sharing data and concepts with team members. PowerBI transforms data (both in clour and on-premises data) into visual data that can communicate concepts and findings throughout your business. This can be an invaluable asset to businesses of all sizes.

SharePoint: SharePoint offers useful metadata capabilities. It should be noted that SharePoint can be used accross a business to incorporate data governance.

Consistency

Although usability is essential for data, consistency is also very important. Accuracy in data can greatly affect whether the data is usable or not.

For this to be effective you must ask yourself ‘is everyone working from the same data?’ This is a modern issue that affects every business. Consistency is key to data accuracy and data governance success.

PowerBI is a useful tool in ensuring your data is consistent, it also allows you to identify errors with ease.

Data Integrity

Data integrity refers to data’s ability to be accurate and maintained in relation to internal policies throughout the data lifecycle. Generally, data integrity is how well your data is managed (this also involves understanding what data can affect your business) and using this data according to policies and compliance procedures.

Compliance, regulations and policies go hand in hand when discussing data governance and integrity. Policies should be created in order to maintain data compliance and regulations.

Data Security

The final pillar of data governance is data security. Only authorised personnel should be able to access company data. Many businesses assume data security is the only aspect of data governance, although it is important its other pillars must be adhered to.

Although Microsoft offers powerful protection, there are many tools that Office 365 offers to protect your data. Multi-Factor Authentication is one of Office 365’s most powerful security options.

Multi-Factor Authentication: Multi-Factor Authentication is a secure method of logging in to your accounts. Authentication methods that rely on more than one ‘proof of identity’ are more likely to hinder any attempt at accessing data through illegal methods. An appropriately designed Multi-Factor Authentication process is much more effective in deterring hackers when compared to traditional single factor authentication methods.

Data is a powerful resource for businesses as it allows companies to gain customers, increase revenue and discover business opportunities. Enacting an appropriate data governance system is essential to this success. Office 365 can help your business utilise data to grow and expand. To learn more about Office 365 and how it can benefit your business, contact our team!

Start your Cloud Migration journey today!

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One Year Later, Is Your Business GDPR Compliant?

One Year Later, Is Your Business GDPR Compliant?

GDPR recently celebrated its first birthday, having come into effect across Europe on May 25th 2018. This new regulation promised to be a milestone in user privacy and data awareness & protection. With many countries within Europe noting a significant rise in the number of complaints made regarding users data, many businesses are still struggling to become compliant or maintain their compliance. For businesses, GDPR is now an essential aspect of their data poilicies that must be adhered to, however, businesses must remember becoming GDPR compliant is a journey for everyone within the business.  

Steps To Becoming Compliant

Map Your Company's Data

Review the sources of the data within your business and document how this data is processed. Following this, identify where this data is stored, who has access to this data and if there are any possible risks to this data? Not only will this assist you with GDPR compliance it will also help your business’ Customer Relationship Management.  

Determine What Data Is Necessary

Don’t keep data that is not essential to your business activities and remove any data that is unused. When reviewing this data, ask yourself ‘Why are we storing this data instead of erasing it?’ and ‘What goals are we trying to achieve by storing this data?’  

Think Security!

Your business must protect the data it holds. To ensure data is protected your business should implement safeguards throughout your network to ensure any attempts to access data by hackers are hindered. We recommend partnering with an IT Solutions company to manage your IT security to ensure your business is protected against modern cyber threats. An effective method of ensuring your data is secure is to carry out a security audit. Our GDPR Protect Audit helps your business to establish security controls to prevent, detect and respond to vulnerabilities and breaches within your business.

Review Documentation

Under GDPR, the rules surrounding Consent have changed. Pre-checked boxes and implied or assumed consent are no longer acceptable to use. Businesses must review all consent statements and disclosures and update documentation where necessary.

Establish Data Handling Procedures

Your business should have policies and procedures put into place that informs employees on the appropriate methods of handling and managing data. These policies and procedures should be accessible by all team members and communicated throughout your business.

Train Your Team

GDPR has changed how businesses should manage and process data. This has changed the data management policies of many businesses, for this policy to be implemented effectively, businesses must train their team members to understand the role they play in your business becoming compliant or maintaining compliance. Our GDPR Compliance Training course discusses the relevant concepts of GDPR, outlines the facts through animated videos, interactive quizzes and accurate content to enhance your employee’s understanding of GDPR and data protection in everyday work scenarios.  
To learn more about how HCS Business Solutions can help your business become GDPR compliant, contact our offices in Waterford or Dublin today! When you partner with HCS Business Solutions we work with your business to ensure it is GDPR compliant and secured against sophisticated cyber attacks and threats.

Quality is key as HCS Business Solutions is Awarded ISO 9001:2015

Quality is key as HCS Business Solutions is Awarded ISO 9001:2015

HCS Business Solutions have been awarded NSAI registration of Quality Management System ISO 9001:2015 for the provision of Managed IT Services, Supply, Installation and Support of ICT Equipment as well as Software Development. 

Founded over 25 years ago, HCS Business Solutions is one of the longest running and most established IT Solutions & Software companies in Ireland. With headquarters in Waterford, an office in Citywest, Dublin and 31 employees, HCS Business Solutions works with SMEs across Ireland to help them work smarter with IT. HCS Business Solutions are Microsoft Gold Partners and recognised industry experts in Microsoft Technologies. We provide businesses with  Outsourced & Managed IT ServicesSoftware DevelopmentIT Systems UpgradesIT SecurityManaged Telecoms and Microsoft Cloud Services. HCS Business Solutions specialise in delivering Microsoft Cloud Solutions, such as Office 365, SharePoint, Azure and Microsoft’s Unified Communications Solution, Skype For Business.

HCS Business Solutions works with many leading businesses in a variety of industries, such as; Hotels/Hospitality, Accountants, Solicitors, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Retail, Professional Services, Garages, Food and Pharmaceuticals.

HCS Business Solutions are proud to announce that we have been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, an internationally recognised standard that ensures our services meet the needs of our customers through an effective quality management system. The certificate covers the provision of key areas of the business; Managed IT Services, Supply, Installation and Support of ICT Equipment as well as Software Development. 

 

HCS Business Solutions are ISO 9001:2015 Certified

Sean Hegarty, Director, said, “The decision to work towards ISO 9001:2015 accreditation demonstrates HCS’ commitment to providing high a quality and consistent service to our clients as well as our ongoing investment in technology, development, processes and procedures”.  To become ISO 9001:2015 compliant, HCS underwent an evaluation process that included quality management system development, a management system documentation review, pre-audit, initial assessment, and clearance of non-conformances, all of which help to identify corrective actions that eliminate non-conformance to the quality management standard.  Sean said “ The ISO 9001:2015 standard demanded total commitment from HCS’ Directors, Neil Phelan and Dan Hegarty as well as from the quality team. HCS’ successful certification is a testament to the positive engagement of staff at all levels, and demonstrates a clear desire to embrace the standard as a core pillar of our growth and customer focused strategies going forward”.

The benefits of ISO 9001:2015 go far beyond meeting customer requirements. Our quality management systems will help HCS to enhance the professionalism of the business’ operations and nurture a culture of exceeding expectations. This, in turn, helps with positive employee engagement because expectations and goals are clear, and they are shared jointly, as HCS and its employees move forward together growing the business.

A date has already been set in June 2019 for the audit of HCS’ Dublin office at Citywest as the company aims to complete ISO 9001:2015 certification for both operational centres.

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