The world has experienced many changes over the last few years, and this has been mirrored in the work setting with a massive increase in remote working. This huge rise – due to the global pandemic – has caused the popularity of communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom to grow into household names. Initially business owners were drawn to Teams by their need to implement a video conferencing solution to keep remote workforces connected, but they soon recognized that Teams is so much more than a video conferencing/instant messaging application.
Teams is a relatively new product to the Microsoft Suite of tools. Now regarded as one of Microsoft 365’s core platforms and integrating seamlessly within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, Teams provides a base for the collaboration of your entire team, a place for sharing files, coordinating tasks, and scheduling meetings – it keeps everyone working from the same script, giving you the guarantee that everyone is working as efficiently to the same common goal.
Teams within Microsoft Teams
To use Teams effectively, you will first need to build-out a digital footprint of your business within the Teams architecture. Grouping access to files, folders, and other associated resources within Microsoft Teams all takes place within sections, identified as – yes, you’ve guessed it – ‘Teams’.
You can create Teams by functional departments such as Sales, Marketing or Purchasing, by client or by project – or any combination mix that best suit your requirements. How you do this all depends on the DNA of your business and how you choose to run things. To enable access, each team will have only appropriate users assigned to it, in the process keeping files and ‘the conversation’ related to that individual client, project or department ring-fenced to the users that require it. This ring fencing is important – you wouldn’t, for example, want a new trainee having access to a sensitive conversation/ file regarding an upcoming merger or perhaps regarding an appraisal of one of their colleagues.
A Channel is a subdivision of a team and a place for more focused conversation on a less broad subject. Channels can be made accessible to all team members, or you can choose to make an individual channel private. This is useful for implementing the ‘need to know’ principle.
When you create a Team within MS Teams, a corresponding SharePoint Site is automatically configured. Subsequently, creating a Channel within the Team will automatically launch a corresponding subfolder within the associated SharePoint site. In less technical terms, what you create within Teams is effectively mirrored within SharePoint, thus saving you the hassle of having to configure each platform separately.
The permissions granted within Teams are carried over to SharePoint. This means only those with access to a particular Team or Channel will have access to the corresponding file libraries within SharePoint.
Roles and Permissions – Managing Access to Your Files
Assigning ‘roles’ to individual members of a group or team is the easiest way to manage file permissions within 365. As Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are so heavily linked, assigning a role within Teams will affect an individual’s ability to access, edit and manipulate content in the corresponding SharePoint site. There are three types of role you can assign:
Owners have full administrative control. Within SharePoint, Owners can edit, add, and remove content, and also have the ability to manage access, change the site layout, and configure settings. They are usually the most trusted and highest ranked of your employees.
Members by default are able to view, edit, and contribute to the contents of the SharePoint site. Members don’t have permission to configure the layout of a site or change any settings.
Visitors are the ones with the most restricted access. They only possess the ability to view documents and other content on the site.
Teams and Channels – Keeping Collaboration Organized
Navigating your Files within Teams
It is simple accessing the associated SharePoint site once you create a Channel within a Team site.
- Click on the Channel and then navigate to the ‘files’ tab at the top of the Teams interface.
From here you have a number of options for accessing and managing your Teams files.
Open Files within Teams
Clicking directly on your files from this location will open the document within the Teams app – either the desktop app or web variant. While this method is a quick and easy way to make changes to a document, the in-Teams versions of the Office apps usually feature limited functionality. You may want to open the file in an appropriate desktop app by clicking on ‘open in desktop app’ to get the full effect.
Sync Files to Your Local Storage
Always Sync your file storage locations to your computer, so you can access them when you don’t have an internet connection. Syncing effectively creates a backup. This can be done from within Teams by selecting ‘sync’ at the top of the files tab in the selected Channel.
This makes the chosen file library accessible via file explorer at any time – regardless of whether you have an internet connection.
Open File Libraries within SharePoint
Teams provides the option to open file libraries within SharePoint …
Additional access management
In addition to Owner, Members, and Visitor classifications, SharePoint gives content owners the ability to define access permissions at folder and individual document level too. You can allow everyone access to the entire system but only have permissions on particularly sensitive files and documents. If you want to control access to a folder, navigate to the chosen folder within SharePoint and select ‘manage access’.
A pane will then appear on the right of the window, allowing you to specify folder-specific access restrictions.
This same process can also be carried out for individual files.
Do you use Microsoft Teams on a device running iOS? You should know that in October of this year, Microsoft will drop support on any versions below iOS 13. Any phones running iOS 13 will still be able to use Microsoft Teams after October, but they won’t receive any updates. This also includes important security updates. In addition, you will not be able to reinstall the build from the app store if you uninstall Teams or reset your device.
What you need to know:
- Microsoft Teams will no longer support iOS 13 or older after October 2021.
- Phones running iOS 13 will still be able to use Teams after the cutoff but won’t receive any new updates.
- Users should upgrade to iOS 14 where possible
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Microsoft 365 and Azure are phenomenal tools for your business, but installing, integrating, learning, setting up security practices, troubleshooting…is that how you want to spend your time? We’re a Microsoft partner, who can provide easy, reliable support and consultation.
Microsoft 365 is the productivity cloud designed to help each of us achieve what matters, in our work and life, with best-in-class Office apps, and intelligent cloud services. Always have the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook wherever you go, with email and calendaring services to meet every organizational need. Get business-class email on phones, tablets, desktops, and the web. Manage your calendar, share available meeting times, schedule meetings, and get reminders. Easily schedule meetings
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The mPowered IT team manages and supports your 365 applications and tenant, while offering the necessary security add-ons to make sure your 365 environment is safe and efficient. Our team creates an outstanding support experience for you and your 365 environment.
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Your company may not be taking full advantage of what Microsoft offers. The mPpowered IT team can review how you are using (or intend to use) 365 and can help you use the platforms most appropriately for your business.
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- Windows Server 2003
- Windows XP
- Windows Server 2008
- Windows 10
- Windows Server 2016
- Windows Server 2019
If you are still using Windows Server 2003 or XP, Windows 7, Windows 2008 R2, or Windows 2008 you could be in trouble. A wormable virus may be coming your way. The virus is designated as CVE-2019-0708.
This means that the virus can get into your system without you doing anything like clicking a malicious link. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights without your knowledge.
What Should You Do?
Microsoft has released a critical update for their Remote Desktop Services that impacts multiple Windows versions. The patches are for devices and systems that are both in and out-of-support, which is rare for Microsoft to do. This shows the importance of these patches.
The update addresses the vulnerability by correcting how Remote Desktop Services handles connection requests. To apply the patches, go to the Microsoft Security Update Guide for in-support systems and KB4500705 for out-of-support systems.
Note: Clients & Customers on a valid managed services agreement are being taken care of and there is no immediate action for any computer, server or other devices under a valid managed services agreement.
Microsoft recommends that customers running one of these operating systems download and install the update as soon as possible.
Does This Mean Even Systems Without Support Can Get The Patch?
Yes, Microsoft is aware that some customers are running versions of Windows that no longer receive mainstream support. This means that you wouldn’t have received any security updates to protect your systems from the CVE-2019-0708 virus.
Given the potential impact on customers and their businesses, Microsoft decided to make security updates available for platforms that are no longer in mainstream support.
All Windows updates are available from the Microsoft Update Catalog.
What Should We Do Before We Apply The Update?
It’s recommended that you back up all of your important data first. If you have a reliable backup, if the patch creates problems you can still access your data. You should do this before you install any patches.
What If We Can’t Apply The Patches?
If you can’t apply the patch for your system there are other things that you can do:
- If you don’t need the Remote Desktop Services, you can disable it.
- Block the TCP port 3389 (this prevents unauthorized requests from the Internet).
- Enable NLA (Network Level Authentication) for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.
Of course, the best thing to do is to contact your local IT services company. They’ll know exactly what to do.
What Is A Wormable Virus?
This means that any future malware that uses this vulnerability could propagate from one vulnerable computer to another. This is how similar malware like WannaCry spread around the world. Experts are worried that this flaw could be used to fuel a fast-moving malware threat like the WannaCry ransomware attacks of 2017.
Here’s what Simon Pope, director of incident response for the Microsoft Security Response Center tells us:
“This vulnerability is pre-authentication and requires no user interaction,” Pope said. “In other words, the vulnerability is ‘wormable,’ meaning that any future malware that exploits this vulnerability could propagate from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer in a similar way as the WannaCry malware spread across the globe in 2017. It is important that affected systems are patched as quickly as possible to prevent such a scenario from happening.”
Have There Been Any Attacks Yet?
Microsoft said they haven’t found evidence of attacks against this dangerous security flaw. But one could happen at any time. Right now they are trying to prevent a serious, imminent threat with these patches.
Simon Pope goes on to say:
“While we have observed no exploitation of this vulnerability, it is highly likely that malicious actors will write an exploit for this vulnerability and incorporate it into their malware.”
What Does The Microsoft Remote Desktop Do?
You use the Microsoft Remote Desktop application to connect to a remote PC or virtual apps and desktops made available by your admin. You can control your desktop computer and all of its contents from another computer.
The app lets you connect to your desktop from wherever you are. The access to the remote desktop happens over the Internet or via another network. It lets you interact as if you were physically working from your desktop.
The Remote Desktop application also gives the “master” computer access to all of the contents on the remote computer.
What Else Should We Know?
If you had updated from Windows 7 to Windows 10 or from Windows Servers 2008/2008 R2 to Windows Server 2016 or 2019, you wouldn’t need to worry. This is why it’s essential to keep your systems up to date.
Soon, on January 14, 2020, support will come to an end for all Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2 equipment and the Windows 7 operating system.
If you’re still using these servers or operating system, it’s crucial to replace them now so that there’s no disruption to your daily operations or loss of data.
Any hardware or software product that reaches its end of life is a potential gateway for hackers to enter through. In addition to the security hazard, there are other reasons why it isn’t a good idea to keep using old equipment such as unresolvable outages.
Where Can We Get Help?
Contact us to ensure your Microsoft desktops and servers are secure and protected from unauthorized intrusions.
Every business grapples with the challenges of moving to the cloud. It isn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN and HOW.
For tens of thousands of organizations, the WHEN is Today and the HOW is with Ensure VC2.
We partnered with Veeam to provide our customers a solid way to back up files, including Microsoft 365. When we began rolling this product out a little over a year ago, even we didn’t imagine the size of the response in such a short amount of time.
While you are reading this, you may be thinking “Doesn’t Microsoft take care of Office 365 backup?”
It’s important to remember that SaaS platform providers, like Microsoft Office 365, take on the responsibility of application uptime and the underlying infrastructure. But it is the customer’s responsibility to manage and protect their vital business data.
At mPowered IT, we’ve identified 6 reasons why backing up Office 365 is critical:
- Accidental deletion: If you delete a user, whether you meant to or not, that deletion is replicated across the network. A backup can restore that user, either to on-premises Exchange or Office 365.
- Retention policy gaps and confusion: Office 365 retention policies are hard to keep up with, let alone manage. A backup provides longer, more accessible retention all protected and stored in one place for easy recovery.
- Internal security threats: Many businesses are experiencing threats from the inside, and they are happening more often than you think. Having a high-grade recovery solution mitigates the risk of critical data being lost or destroyed.
- External security threats: Malware and viruses have done serious damage to organizations globally in just the past year alone. A backup can easily restore mailboxes to an instance before the attack.
- Legal and compliance requirements: Ensure you can retrieve mailbox data during legal action and to meet any regulatory compliance needs.
- Managing hybrid email deployments and migrations to Office 365: Whether you are migrating to Office 365 or have a blend of on-premises Exchange and Office 365 users, the exchange data should be managed and protected the same way, making the source location irrelevant.
The promise we have made is we will help our customers protect any app, any data, across any cloud, and this latest news moves us closer to fulfilling that promise. I’d like to share what Thierry Schaal, Cloud Solution Manager at Adista had to say. Adista is a Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) partner:
“As more workloads move to the cloud, customers need to understand that SaaS applications typically don’t have built-in data protection. SaaS usage has uncovered unique internal and external security threats, as well as all-to-common data deletion scenarios and retention policy gaps. We see a rapidly growing opportunity to provide much-needed data protection services for a wide range of infrastructures and applications – which is why we are excited about Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365.”
For more information on Microsoft 365 backups or any other network security question call mPowered IT at 678-389-6200, email us, or contact us online.