Cloud technology provides small businesses with a big competitive advantage. I see the transformation happening around the world and in every industry — from a law firm in Botswanathat adopted Office 365 to ensure reliable service and timely communication with clients, to a Florida-based manufacturing company that saved $20,000 in IT management costs.
These types of solutions — which work for you instead of you working for them — took center stage last month at our annual Microsoft Ignite conference in Atlanta. We’ve listened to what small-business owners want: increased security, better insight into workflow and business processes, and productivity hacks that give them back time in their day. Here are highlights of our latest innovations designed to give your business the competitive advantage you need to succeed.
Protect your business data
Small businesses tell us they’re concerned about security. And for good reason: Cybercriminals are becoming more advanced every day and keep finding new ways to hack into businesses of all sizes. Web browsers are one of their easiest targets. In fact, 90 percent of all phishing attacks start using a web browser. What’s worse, most browsers don’t offer protection to prevent these attacks. As much as you’d like to, you can’t always rely on your employees to recognize malware when it attaches itself to web content or when a website or URL is untrustworthy. Your technology needs to be on the alert for you.
Coming next year for Windows 10 E3 and E5 customers, the Microsoft Edge browser will do just that thanks to the protection of Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG). Let’s say someone clicks on a link in an email that appears harmless, but actually contains malware. Unlike other containment offerings, WDAG opens a browser session in an isolated container built into the hardware, preventing malicious code from entering the network through that employee’s email. By containing malicious code behind a wall, it foils the attempted hack and helps keeps your data safe. Your employee likely won’t even notice it happening, but it could save your business (and your customers) from a massive data breach. This is part of what makes Edge the most secure browser for businesses.
But web browsers aren’t the only opening cybercriminals have into your business’ data. They can also weasel their way in through documents, spreadsheets and other seemingly harmless email attachments without anyone’s knowledge. Office 365 already provides robust email protection against spam, viruses and malware without you having to lift a finger. At Ignite, we announced enhancements to Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, which takes this automatic, built-in protection even further to scan attachments and thwart even the most sophisticated attempts to disguise malicious hyperlinks. This is just another way that Office 365 works to help protect you.
Work smarter, not harder
At the small businesses I’ve visited, many employees wear more than one hat, making efficiency a top priority. You want to know that you are running an efficient business, but often you don’t have the insight you need to identify areas where you can improve. You may know that something’s not quite right, but what that something is and how to fix it can be hard to pinpoint.
If you’re like me, you often find yourself at 5 p.m., staring down at your ever-expanding to-do list and wondering where the day went. Microsoft MyAnalytics, a personal analytics service in Office 365, provides a dashboard that helps you and your employees understand how you spend time at work. MyAnalytics can quickly and easily show you how much time you’re spending on email, in meetings, who you’re communicating with most and even who you may be losing touch with. Maybe there are meetings you can shorten, reschedule or cut altogether so you have more dedicated focus time in your day. MyAnalytics provides team members and leaders with key insights to help find better ways to work together and improve workplace efficiency, saving you valuable time and resources.
In addition, the apps you use every day — like Word, Excel and PowerPoint — are becoming more intelligent. The Tap feature surfaces relevant content to help you easily reuse existing information when you’re authoring emails and Word documents. QuickStarter will raise your presentation game to the next level with curated outlines for PowerPoint and Sway. With PowerPoint Designer you can create polished, professional-looking presentations and documents without having to invest in a designer or dedicate staff and hours to wrestling with formatting and layout. These new offerings give you big-business resources without the big price tag.
Empower your business with the cloud
Thanks to the cloud, every business can now use technology that was previously reserved for large companies with big IT departments. The cloud takes the IT management burden off small business owners and employers, enabling them to spend time on other business-critical activities.
Solutions like Windows Defender, Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, MyAnalytics, Tap and QuickStarter are all cloud-powered services, and at Ignite, we announced new products and updates that will make the Microsoft Azure cloud platform better than ever to support the apps and services businesses of all sizes need to compete, grow and succeed.
There’s no reason for small businesses to lag behind larger competitors in security and intelligence anymore. Your business can be just as secure, insightful and empowered as they are. Today’s affordable solutions make is easy to harness the technology and information you need to keep your business up to date and moving forward. And we aim to be your go-to resource for the tools and services you need to meet your business goals.
As vice president, David Smith is focused on working with the Small and Medium Business (SMB) partner ecosystem. In this capacity, he is responsible for a global team of sales, marketing and partner management professionals to ensure Microsoft’s ecosystem of partners delivers technology-based high value experiences meeting the unique needs of over 100 million SMB’s across the world.
Since joining Microsoft in 1998, David has engaged with partners as well as strategic ISVs to develop scalable, agile, real-time, and secure solutions that allow companies of all sizes to realize their full potential.
Prior to Microsoft, David worked at Digital Insight (Internet Home Banking vendor acquired by Intuit) and at Morgan Stanley. David completed his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego. David is married with four children.
Source: Entreprise Microsoft