Skip to main content

Side by Side IT Blog

Unlocking the Power of Microsoft 365's Latest AI Innovations: 5 Strategies to Utilize

Microsoft 365 boasts an impressive array of cloud-based productivity tools designed to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in your work. Microsoft has been a pioneer in innovation, with M365, initially introduced as Office 365 in 2013, leading the charge as one of the earliest all-in-one cloud solutions. Today, Microsoft continues to push boundaries with its cutting-edge generative AI technology.

Within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, numerous AI innovations have been integrated into familiar tools such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, and more. These intelligent features, if utilized effectively, can greatly enhance your productivity and overall experience.

Continue reading

Attention Gamers! Beware of Targeted Hacking Attempts.

For a long time, cybersecurity has predominantly focused on protecting businesses, with frequent mentions of attacks on enterprises and incidents of personal data theft through phishing schemes. However, it's crucial to recognize that gamers are increasingly vulnerable to targeted cyber threats.

As cyberattacks persist and evolve, gamers have emerged as prime targets for hackers. With the gaming industry expanding rapidly and more users immersing themselves in virtual environments, the risks associated with cyber threats have escalated. In fact, cyberattacks on young gamers surged by 57% in 2022, particularly affecting those playing popular games like Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite on their parents' devices, which are rich targets for hackers.

Continue reading

11 Responsible Methods for Disposing of E-Waste in Your Home or Office

In today's technology-driven era, electronic devices have become essential, but the constant upgrades often leave us with a pile of old gadgets taking up storage space. However, disposing of them carelessly is not an option, as e-waste poses a significant environmental threat. E-waste includes items like computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, printers, cameras, TVs, and more, which may contain hazardous materials harmful to both the environment and human health.

To address this issue for small businesses, here are some tips on responsible e-waste disposal:

Continue reading

7 Technology Trends That Are Transforming the Work Landscape

The world of work is undergoing rapid transformation driven by technology at an unprecedented pace. From artificial intelligence to web3, and from the metaverse to the hybrid work model, we are experiencing a series of technological revolutions that are reshaping how we communicate, collaborate, create, and innovate. Let's delve into some of the most impactful technology trends that are influencing the way we work in 2024 and beyond.

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) and Generative AI are not mere buzzwords; they are actively reshaping the workplace. These technologies automate tasks, allowing teams to handle routine activities more efficiently and freeing up human resources for creative and strategic pursuits. Although not a new concept, AI has become more potent and accessible due to advances in computing power, data availability, and algorithm development. AI is now augmenting and automating various work aspects, including data analysis, customer service, image creation, and product design. However, it also presents challenges such as ethical dilemmas, social implications, and workforce displacement, emphasizing the need for responsible and human-centric AI approaches.

Continue reading

The Top 10 Common Cybersecurity Errors Made by Small Businesses

Cybercriminals are known for executing highly sophisticated attacks. However, it is often the lax cybersecurity practices that create the most vulnerabilities, especially within small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Small business owners often overlook the importance of cybersecurity measures, sometimes due to their intense focus on company growth. Some may believe they face a lower risk of data breaches, while others consider cybersecurity an expense they cannot afford.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to recognize that cybersecurity is not exclusive to large corporations; it is an equally vital concern for small businesses. Small businesses are often perceived as attractive targets for cybercriminals due to perceived vulnerabilities. Shockingly, 50% of SMBs have fallen victim to cyberattacks, and over 60% of them cease operations after such incidents.

Continue reading

Preventing Your Smart Home from Becoming a Security Risk

The Prevalence of Smart Homes: Ensuring Your Home Automation Doesn't Become a Security Liability for Your Small Business

Smart homes have seamlessly integrated into modern living, to the point where instructing your refrigerator to add milk to your digital grocery list seems perfectly normal. The convenience and efficiency offered by smart homes are undeniable. You can control lighting and thermostat settings through a smartphone app and have virtual assistants like Alexa at your beck and call. However, as we wholeheartedly embrace these conveniences, it's crucial to remain mindful of the potential security risks associated with smart home technology. To safeguard your privacy and protect your smart home from turning into a security threat, it's essential to take proactive steps.

Continue reading

Boost Your Bottom Line with these 18 Profitable Sustainable Tech Practices

In the Contemporary Business Landscape: Why Sustainable Tech Practices Are a Must for Small Businesses

In today's world, the notion of sustainability has transcended buzzword status to become an absolute necessity. Businesses worldwide are progressively adopting eco-friendly practices, and this isn't solely for their positive environmental impact. Instead, it's about the profound advantages they offer to a business's financial well-being.

Continue reading

What Exactly is Microsoft Sales Copilot and What Functions Does It Serve?

The Rapid Rise of AI-Driven Tools: Exploring Microsoft Sales Copilot's Impact on Small Businesses

In the current landscape, AI-powered tools are flourishing, and software is becoming progressively smarter with each passing day. The integration of AI and machine learning is now a vital component for maintaining competitiveness. Microsoft, a pioneering force in the tech industry, continues to lead the way in the era of AI innovation. One of their latest innovations, Microsoft Sales Copilot, is set to redefine the future of small businesses. In this article, we'll delve into the essence of Microsoft Sales Copilot and how it is revolutionizing the domains of sales and customer insights.

Continue reading

Why It's Essential to Grasp the Significance of "Secure by Design" Cybersecurity Approaches

Cybersecurity has become an essential cornerstone for businesses, regardless of their size. Network security is a non-negotiable requirement in the face of increasing cyberattacks, which can result in enduring consequences. In 2022, we witnessed an alarming 87% surge in IoT malware attacks, and the utilization of AI is escalating the volume and sophistication of these attacks.

To tackle this evolving threat landscape, adopting a proactive cybersecurity approach is imperative. One such approach gaining prominence is 'Secure by Design' practices. International partners are taking collective steps to address commonly exploited vulnerabilities, as demonstrated in a recent advisory. This collaborative effort emphasizes the global nature of cybersecurity threats and underscores the necessity for coordinated actions to safeguard critical infrastructure.

Continue reading

Stay Vigilant Against Ransomware Disguised as a Windows Update for Small Businesses

Imagine you're diligently working on your computer, and suddenly, a Windows update prompt appears. Instead of dismissing it, you decide to take action because you prioritize the safety of your device. However, as you install what you believe to be a legitimate update, you unwittingly fall victim to a ransomware attack. This nightmare scenario is a result of a rising cybersecurity menace.

Cybercriminals are continually devising new methods to breach systems, encrypt valuable data, and force victims into difficult predicaments. Once your system is infected with ransomware, your PC becomes virtually unusable, and you're left with the daunting choice of either paying a ransom or seeking professional assistance to remove the malware. Additionally, you may need to restore your system from a backup, provided you have one.

Continue reading

Five Technological Trends for Small Businesses That Can Drive Your Expansion

In today's dynamic digital landscape, small businesses are presented with a wealth of opportunities. Many of these opportunities involve harnessing technology to gain a competitive edge. Embracing the right technological trends can empower businesses to streamline their operations, elevate customer experiences, and propel growth. However, navigating the multitude of available options can be perplexing. Small businesses must carefully select the path that promises the greatest returns.

In this article, we will delve into five prominent technological trends that hold immense potential for driving success and propelling small businesses forward in an increasingly competitive market.

Continue reading

Microsoft Design for your Small Business

As technology continues to evolve, so do the options available for design tools. Microsoft, a pioneering company in the realm of business applications, has expanded its offerings significantly. Initially starting with just seven apps, Microsoft 365 now provides users access to over 20 different tools and features.

One of the noteworthy additions to this suite is Microsoft Designer, a user-friendly design tool that has captured the attention of designers, professionals, and even small business owners. Whether you're a seasoned graphic artist, a marketer, or simply someone looking to create a humorous meme, Microsoft Designer has something to offer.

Continue reading

Access Management Crucial in Small Business Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has become an absolute necessity for both small businesses and individuals. The digital landscape is rife with cyber threats, and the consequences of data breaches and malware attacks can be financially crippling. It's important to recognize that these threats can originate from various sources, including the everyday cloud tools you rely on.

On average, employees interact with 36 different cloud-based services each day. Managing access to sensitive data and resources has become an integral part of maintaining robust security. The potential fallout from a single breached account in a business application cannot be underestimated. Hackers highly value login credentials, which can be sold for substantial sums on the dark web. For example, an email administrator's login information can fetch anywhere from $500 to $140,000.

Continue reading

Defense in Depth Cybersecurity Strategy for Small Businesses

Cybersecurity threats are on the rise, with ransomware attacks jumping by 93% in 2022. The advent of ChatGPT has the potential to increase the damage caused by cyber-attacks. Safeguarding sensitive data and systems requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond relying on a single security solution. This is where adopting a defense-in-depth cybersecurity strategy becomes crucial.

Understanding the Defense-in-Depth Approach

In simple terms, a defense-in-depth approach means implementing multiple layers of protection for your technology, similar to securing your home with locks, security cameras, and an alarm system. This strategy combines various security measures to create a formidable defense against cyber attackers. Some of these defenses include firewalls, antivirus software, strong passwords, encryption, employee training, access management, and endpoint security. The approach also emphasizes early detection and rapid response by utilizing tools that can promptly detect suspicious activities and enable quick action to mitigate potential damage.

Continue reading

What about these Common Tech Myths?

For small businesses operating in the digital age, technology plays a significant role in various aspects of daily operations. However, amidst rapid advancements and innovations, certain tech myths continue to circulate, leading to misunderstandings and potential limitations in fully utilizing devices and tools. In this blog post, we aim to debunk some of the most common tech myths and shed light on the truth behind them.

Myth 1: Leaving your device plugged in overnight damages the battery

One enduring myth suggests that leaving devices plugged in overnight harms the battery life. In reality, this misconception is largely outdated. Modern smartphones, laptops, and other devices are equipped with advanced battery management systems that prevent overcharging. When the device reaches its maximum charge capacity, it automatically stops charging, even if it remains connected to the power source. Consequently, leaving your device charging overnight is generally safe and can ensure a full charge by morning.

Continue reading

Universal Print and what it can do for your Small Business

For small businesses operating in today's digital landscape, printing remains an essential function. However, managing print infrastructure can be a time-consuming task, and any printer issues can disrupt work processes. Moreover, keeping up with printer drivers and firmware updates is crucial to avoid vulnerabilities that could compromise network security.

To address these challenges, Microsoft has developed a solution called Microsoft Universal Print, which offers a modern and streamlined approach to print management. Let's explore the benefits and features of Microsoft Universal Print and how it can enhance your printing environment.

Continue reading

Small Business Checklist for your Office Move

For small businesses, moving can be a tumultuous and stressful experience, especially when it involves handling valuable technology. Whether you're relocating your home office or office space, it's crucial to take extra precautions when packing and moving your devices and other tech items.

To help you navigate this process smoothly, we've compiled a practical checklist to ensure your technology remains safe and secure during the move.

Continue reading

Cybersecurity Risks of Remote Work

Remote work has witnessed a surge in popularity, offering employees greater flexibility and convenience while helping employers reduce office costs. Many also attest to the productivity benefits stemming from fewer distractions. Research indicates a remarkable 56% decrease in unproductive time when working from home compared to the office. However, there are certain drawbacks to remote work that necessitate awareness of the cybersecurity risks that come with it. Monitoring device and network security becomes less straightforward, resulting in about 63% of businesses experiencing data breaches due to remote employees.

Nevertheless, this news does not imply that one must compromise security to enjoy the benefits of remote working. Striking a balance is possible by being conscious of cybersecurity concerns and taking appropriate measures to address them.

Continue reading

What is Zero Click Malware in Small Businesses?

In today's digital era, cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, presenting significant risks to both individuals and small businesses. One particularly concerning threat gaining traction is zero-click malware, a type of insidious software that requires no user interaction and can silently compromise devices and networks.

A well-known instance of such an attack occurred in 2019 through a WhatsApp breach, where a missed call led to spyware being injected into the victim's device without any interaction required. More recently, iOS users have been targeted by a new zero-click hack via iMessage, which allows a complete takeover of their devices without any user action.

Continue reading

How to Use Threat Modeling to Reduce Your Small Business Cybersecurity Risk

As cyber threats continue to increase, businesses must take proactive steps. They need to protect their sensitive data and assets from cybercriminals. Threats to data security are persistent and they come from many different places.  

Today’s offices are digitally sophisticated. Just about every activity relies on some type of technology and data sharing. Hackers can breach these systems from several entry points. This includes computers, smartphones, cloud applications, and network infrastructure.

Continue reading