New research has uncovered an unexpected twist in the tale of cyber security risks – your tech-savvy younger employees may be your biggest vulnerability.
Shocked? Let's dive into the details.
More than 6,500 employees globally were surveyed, with an almost equal representation of demographics. The results were rather alarming.
The study found that younger office workers, those 40 or under, are more likely to disregard standard password safety guidelines. Can you believe that 34% admitted to using their birth dates as passwords, compared to just 19% of those over 40?
And it doesn't stop there.
The habit of using the same password across multiple devices was also more prevalent among younger workers, with 38% admitting to doing this.
And let's not even get started on phishing scams. A whopping 23% of the younger demographic didn't report the last phishing attempt they received. Their reasoning? "I didn't think it was important".
But surely they understand the gravity of security threats against businesses, right? Well, not quite.
While ransomware and phishing were acknowledged as critical threats by 23% and 22% of employees, the overall attitude towards cyber security leaves much to be desired.
Here's the kicker: a staggering number of those surveyed revealed that their organizations did NOT provide any mandatory cybersecurity training.
From the US (30%) to the UK (17%), Netherlands (32%), Japan (35%), India (31%), Germany (22%), France (43%), Australia (29%) and China (65%) – the numbers speak for themselves.
So, are we really to blame our young workforce when it's clear that businesses aren't doing enough to equip their employees with the necessary cybersecurity skills?
It's high time we stopped treating cyber security as an afterthought and started investing in regular cyber awareness training for everyone in our businesses. Yes, EVERYONE. Not just the tech team or the executives, but every single employee.
At the end of the day, it's not just about protecting your business; it's about creating a safer digital world for us all.
We can help you do that. Get in touch.
How secure do you think your passwords are? Do you believe that longer is always better? Well, we have some news for you. It's time for a serious talk about password security.
New research has revealed a sobering truth – even passwords that are 15 characters long can be compromised. Yes, you read that right. It's time to face the stark reality… length doesn't always mean strength.
The eight-character password reigns supreme as the most compromised length of a password. But don't breathe a sigh of relief if yours is a longer one. The 15-character password also appears in the top ten most compromised lengths.
You might ask, "How could this be?" The answer lies not only in the password length but also in the content of the password and whether you use the same password on multiple sites.
The most compromised eight-character password is none other than "password" itself, while the most compromised 15-character password is "Sym_newhireOEIE".
Doesn’t exactly feel secure, does it?
It's not just about individual people. Businesses like yours are at high risk too. An alarming 86% of all cyber attacks start with stolen credentials. That's nearly nine out of ten attacks. Can you afford to be complacent?
Sure, longer passwords do offer more resistance to brute force cracking. An eight-character password can be cracked in five minutes, while a good 15-character one could take up to 37 million years if it does not follow any obvious pattern (i.e., it’s random and uses many types of characters). Impressive, right?
But remember, this is just one piece of the puzzle. Length alone won't save you from stolen credentials via phishing attacks.
Use a robust business password manager. Not only will it randomly generate long passwords for you, but it will also remember them and fill in the login box for you.
You should also use two-factor authentication, where you generate a code on a separate device to prove it’s you. Even if cyber criminals crack your password, they still won’t be able to access your data.
If you need help keeping your business better protected, get in touch.
Picture an AI-enhanced experience that streamlines your business communication and improves overall productivity to unprecedented levels.
Sounds a little like science fiction, right?
But with Microsoft's latest announcement, this future is closer than you think.
Microsoft Teams is launching an ‘AI library’ that promises to revolutionize our Teams experience.
To empower developers to integrate Large Language Models (LLMs) into their Teams apps. The most famous LLM right now is ChatGPT.
You might wonder how that will help your business. Well essentially, it could mean you have a sophisticated AI at your beck and call during your Teams meetings.
The AI library, rolling out right now, will provide developers with a suite of code functionalities making it easier for them to integrate LLMs into their apps. This means creating Bots, Message Extensions, and Adaptive Cards for more engaging conversational experiences will be a breeze.
Microsoft assures us that the AI library will also aid the seamless migration of existing Bots, Message Extensions, and Adaptive Cards functionalities into Teams.
Isn't this the same company that gave us the Copilot tool? Yep! Back in March 2023, Microsoft introduced GPT-4 integration across Microsoft 365 with its Copilot tool, which can whip up emails, compile reports, and, as Microsoft claimed very grandly, "rediscover the soul of work". Who knew AI could be so poetic?
And let's not forget the recently unveiled tool which uses AI to generate meeting notes, suggest follow-up actions, and even provide timeline markers for instant access to relevant parts of a call.
Microsoft Teams is on a mission to redefine our experience with AI. This isn't just about making our lives easier; it's about unlocking new possibilities for productivity and efficiency. Honestly, we can’t wait to see what the new AI library will bring.
If you need help getting more from Teams across your business, get in touch.
As if Windows 11 wasn’t already packed with enough goodies, it’s about to get even better.
Are you ready for a major upgrade to your favorite tools included with the operating system?
First, let's talk about the Snipping Tool. This humble screenshotting tool has been quietly serving us for years, capturing our screens one snip at a time. But now, with a new text capture and recognition capability, called 'Text Actions,' we're looking at a drastic game-changer. You can copy and paste text straight from a screenshot. No more typing out information from an image like a caveman (or a more modern version of a caveman anyway).
And that's not all. A new 'Quick Redact' function, lets you hide sensitive information right in the screenshot. Gone are the days of awkwardly scribbling over confidential data with a digital marker.
With integration from Windows 11’s Phone Link feature, your Android devices and PC are going to be best friends too. Syncing will be so much easier.
Now, let's talk about the Photos app. Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, Microsoft pulls another rabbit out of the hat. Based on community feedback – yes, they do listen to us – the Photos app is getting a makeover complete with a new Background Blur option.
Want to make your subject pop by blurring out the background? No problem. Need to control the intensity of the blur or select specific areas to blur? They've sorted it.
The new ‘Content Search’ capability for photos backed up on OneDrive is a game-changer as well.
Ever wished you could search for a photo based on its content? Wish granted! Using intelligent image detection software, Microsoft will now scan and label your photos with searchable tags. And yes, you can also search for photos based on location, across local files, OneDrive, and even Apple’s iCloud. That's right, iPhone users haven’t been left out.
Now, we know some people are still smarting from the changes to the Windows 10 Photos app, notably the removal of the Video Editor feature. But it looks like Microsoft may be making amends. The vague mention in Microsoft’s announcement that "Edit and Create Video options are now easily accessible at the top of the gallery view" suggests some video editing functions might be heading our way. We’ll just have to wait and see what that means.
As we eagerly await these updates, one thing is clear: Microsoft is not resting on its laurels. They're working tirelessly to make our lives easier one update at a time. I’m thrilled, and as a business owner, you should be too. After all, who doesn't love a good upgrade?
If you’d like to get started with Windows 11 or need a hand spreading its productivity features to your team, we can help. Get in touch.
Can you believe it? After 30 years of faithful service, Microsoft is finally pulling the plug on WordPad. The app that debuted with Windows 95, and lets you open a .doc file if you don’t have Word installed, is being shown the door.
But why now and what does it mean for your business?
Microsoft recently announced plans to stop updating WordPad and eventually remove it from Windows altogether. It was a quiet reveal, and it's unclear when this will happen, but it's in the works.
Let's be honest though… how many times have you accidentally opened a document in WordPad when you were aiming for Notepad?
Notepad is what you use for plain text. WordPad is more like a word processor.
Everyone gets confused. 😵
Could this common mix-up be the reason behind WordPad's impending demise? Or perhaps Microsoft is trying to nudge more people towards paying for Microsoft Word, a key part of its Microsoft 365 suite.
In an excerpt from Microsoft's recently updated Windows deprecated features list, they recommend using Microsoft Word for rich text documents and Windows Notepad for plain text documents. So, in other words, "WordPad who?"
But let's not get too sentimental here. As a lifelong Windows user, I can confess that I've mostly opened WordPad only by mistake. And if it does vanish, I won't be losing sleep. There are plenty of other word processors out there, and I'm quite fond of Word.
However, if you're a diehard WordPad fan, don't despair just yet. Microsoft is asking for feedback via the Windows Feedback Hub app. So, if there's an outpouring of support, who knows? Maybe Microsoft will reconsider and allow WordPad to stick around, even if it's just as an optional, rarely-updated app from the Microsoft Store.
Have you heard about the latest productivity update from our friends at Google?
They've just added a little feature to Google Calendar that could make your life a whole lot easier – especially if you’re a hybrid worker.
Remember back in 2021 when they first introduced the option to share your working location with your colleagues? They've taken it up a notch.
Now, you can set up multiple locations for any given day on your calendar. So whether you're splitting your time between the office and home, or out and about as a mobile worker, Google’s got you covered.
Picture this: you're only in the office for half a day before you head off to a client meeting. With this new feature, your colleagues will know exactly when and where to find you.
Google is all about helping us work smarter, not harder. They know that loads of us are still working remotely, or juggling a mix of office and remote work. This update is specially designed for hybrid workers.
It's only available to those with a Workspace account, including:
- Google Workspace Business Standard/Plus
- Enterprise Standard/Plus
- Education Fundamentals/Standard/Plus
- The Teaching and Learning Upgrade
Unfortunately, personal accounts won't have access just yet.
The working location feature will be switched on by default. But if you prefer that your colleagues can’t find you (we’re not judging… we all get distracted at work) you can easily disable it.
If we can help you get the most out of everyday applications like calendars and email, get in touch.
In the fast-evolving world of technology, business owners and managers like you are always on the lookout for the next big thing to give them a competitive edge.
Have you considered how AI tools might be able to help?
ChatGPT – or Generative Pretrained Transformer, if you want to get technical – has been making big waves all year. It’s an AI model developed by OpenAI that’s designed to generate human-like text based on the prompts it's given. Think of it like having a professional writer at your beck and call, ready to generate content, answer queries, or even draft emails whenever you need.
Lots of other AI models have also been released, including one from Google called Bard. Unlike ChatGPT, Bard can browse the web for its answers (you can do this in ChatGPT, but you must be a paying Plus subscriber and have switched on web browsing in the settings).
Some businesses already use AI tools, mainly for customer service and content creation. That’s like buying a Ferrari just to drive to the grocery store. They can do so much more!
Here are three of the other ways an AI tool can turbocharge your business…
- Stay ahead with trend detection: Remember the feeling when you realized too late that the last ‘big thing’ could’ve been a gold mine? With an AI tool, you'll be the one setting the trends, not following them. Simply ask it to "Provide a short analysis of the latest [insert your industry] trends", and you're armed with powerful knowledge.
- Enhance productivity with keystone habits: Increased productivity is the holy grail for any business owner. With an AI tool, you can tap into cutting-edge research to supercharge your work habits. Just ask for the "top 5 latest ways to [improve a specific area]". We bet you spot a new idea you’d never thought of.
- Make better decisions with summaries of complex events: Ask your tool to explain [something complex] to a 12 year old… that’s a clever way to get a summary anyone can understand.
ChatGPT, Bard and all the others are more than just AI writing assistants… they’re your secret weapon in the business world. It's time to stop using your Ferrari just for the grocery runs and start taking it for a real spin.
If we can help you use AI more in your business, get in touch.
Are you tired of wasting precious time in meetings, only to leave feeling confused and disorganized?
Do you struggle to keep track of all the action items and follow-up tasks that come out of these meetings?
Microsoft Teams has launched a new feature that could solve your problems and boost productivity.
Meeting Recap is an AI-based intelligent meeting recap feature, available exclusively to Teams Premium subscribers. This innovative feature harnesses the latest in artificial intelligence technology to generate comprehensive summaries of your meetings.
That means no more tedious recaps… but hello to accurate and efficient summaries that capture all the key points from your meetings.
The Meeting Recap feature doesn't stop there. It automatically identifies action items and follow-up tasks, assigns them to team members, and even sets deadlines for completion. This means that everyone involved in the meeting knows exactly what they need to do and when it needs to be done. A great way to improve communication and collaboration within your team.
But it's not just about efficiency. The meeting recap feature also offers customizable options to tailor the feature to your specific needs. Choose what information is included in the summary to ensure that you receive the most relevant and useful information possible.
If you’re not a Teams Premium subscriber, are there benefits of investing in this new feature?
Yes! For starters, it streamlines your workflow, saving you both time and money.
You don’t have to waste hours trying to decipher meeting notes and action items. Instead, you'll have access to a clear and concise summary that you can refer back to at any time.
Additionally, it improves organization and accountability within your team. With assigned action items and deadlines, everyone knows exactly what is expected of them.
Don't underestimate the power of this new Meeting Recap – it's a game-changer for businesses that want to increase productivity.
Don’t wait. If you need help upgrading to Teams Premium, we’re here for you. Get in touch.
Microsoft has just announced an option for people to trial new features before their general release in Windows 11.
This isn’t about fixes to security flaws – everyone gets those at the same time.
This is an opportunity for businesses to jump the queue to receive new features and updates first.
Worth the risk?
Patience is a virtue!
Sure, it may be tempting to give in to the tantalizing prospect of new features… nobody ever wants to wait. But jumping aboard any trial phase comes with risks.
Bugs, errors, and other stumbling blocks could have a significant impact on your operations, potentially causing chaos in your daily workflow.
Waiting until features have completed a thorough trial process gives you the advantage of other people’s experience. They’ve already dealt with the complexities so, by the time you get the new features, they’ll be polished and dependable. And isn’t that more important for the smooth running of your business?
Trust us, the safe road is the smart road, especially when your business systems are involved. The benefits of being an early adopter may seem enticing, but you don't want to end up being the guinea pig.
Remember the old adage… good things come to those who wait!
We’re all for keeping up with the latest technology and software updates, but there is a time to exercise caution, and this is one of those times. Don't be tempted by the shiny new features.
- Be patient
- Stay safe
- And ensure that when the time comes, you're getting something that’s proven to work
Microsoft already has a lot of (tested and approved) features that can boost productivity and make your work processes smoother. We spend a lot of time helping businesses find the right ones for them. If we can do the same for you, get in touch.
Productivity tools are supposed to make you more, well… productive.
But if they’re not embedded properly within your business, tasks can actually end up taking longer than they should. That’s frustrating for employees and you. It wastes time, and it costs money – which is the opposite of being productive.
So how can this happen?
Often a lack of consistent training means everyone is using tools differently, or finding their own workarounds. Maybe the tools haven’t been properly integrated with other apps, creating additional work. Or perhaps employees simply don’t find some tools useful and give up on them.
Bringing new technology into your business can be a big step – so big that lots of owners try to avoid it completely. That might be because of understandable risk aversion, or because they simply don’t have enough information to choose the right solution from the thousands of available options. It doesn’t help that nearly all tools work differently and offer different advantages.
What most business owners need is expert help. It’s easy to say you plan to introduce new productivity tools to keep employees happy and to gain a competitive advantage, but in practice, it’s a lot more involved.
One thing’s for sure. As AI solutions become more and more integrated into new solutions – and others in your industry start to benefit from the new tech landscape – businesses that don’t keep up, risk being left behind.
Working with professionals can not only help to identify the most suitable tools for your business…
But also to help get the most from them by ensuring all your people are fully trained.
That means you’ll not only be getting all the productivity benefits you hoped for from your investment, you’ll also have a more engaged, better-skilled, and more productive workforce.
This is something we help businesses with all the time. Get in touch if you’d like us to do the same for you.
Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.