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Authors Posts by James Jones

James Jones

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SAM and Licensing specialist at Crayon.

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Oslo, 09 March 2018: Crayon today announced the successful acquisition of Kryptos Technologies Pvt. Ltd (“Kryptos”), a specialist IT managed service provider headquartered in Chennai, India. Kryptos has approximately 60 employees and is a leading cloud migration specialist providing managed services centered around storage, server, network and applications.

“Kryptos has a strong team with deep technical capabilities, and we are looking forward to adding these to our services offering and extending them across our worldwide business. This will help our customers to both accelerate their digital transformation journey and optimise their cloud migration investments through the better management of their IT assets post implementation”, says Torgrim Takle, Crayon Group CEO.

Under the terms of the agreement, Crayon will initially acquire a majority stake in Kryptos at an enterprise value of MNOK 8.5, with the option to buy-out minority shareholders based on financial performance of the company during next 3-5 years. In 2017, Kryptos was in a ramp-up phase and posted revenues of approximately MNOK 4.

For further queries, please contact:

Torgrim Takle, Chief Executive Officer
Crayon Group Holding ASA
Tel.: +47 95 14 07 82
Email: torgrim@crayon.com 

 

About Crayon

Crayon Group Holding ASA is a leading IT advisory firm in software and digital transformation services. With unique IP tools and skilled employees, Crayon help optimize its clients’ ROI from complex software technology investments. Crayon have long experience within volume software licensing optimization, digital engineering, predictive analytics and assists the clients through all phases of the process of a digital transformation. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, the company has approximately 1,100 employees in 43 offices worldwide.

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GDPR thumbnail

¿Cuánto puede costarle a su organización incurrir en una infracción por la gestión deficiente de datos después de la aplicación del GDPR? ¿Cuáles son los principales riesgos por incumplimiento? Exponemos los riesgos directos a los que se enfrentarán las empresas a partir de la entrada en vigor del GDPR el 25 de mayo de 2018.

Al considerar las implicaciones del Reglamento General de Protección de Datos (GDPR), en su mayoría hacen referencia a sanciones económicas graves por incumplimiento. Las empresas españolas no son ajenas a las leyes de privacidad y a sus repercusiones financieras directas. De hecho, la LOPD es una ley muy avanzada con respecto a otros países del mundo en la protección de la privacidad. En cuestión de multas, sólo en 2015 la Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) recaudó 14 millones de euros en sanciones debidas a su incumplimiento.

Preocupación por los cambios

La inquietud que el GDPR trae consigo es patente y no es un asunto baladí para las organizaciones, teniendo en cuenta que la nueva normativa europea va mucho más allá en lo que se refiere al procesamiento de datos personales:

  • Por un lado, los requisitos para su cumplimiento se amplían y afectará a todos los ámbitos de la organización, desde la gestión de la información de los empleados en RRHH, al almacenamiento y gestión de datos en múltiples mercados por los equipos de ventas, marketing y servicios al cliente.
  • Los usuarios han de dar consentimiento expreso (ya no se aceptará el “si no me dice lo contrario, me autoriza implícitamente”) y ganan en derechos en cuanto al acceso, corrección y borrado de datos personales o “derecho al olvido”. También tendrán una mayor protección legal e institucional frente a posibles violaciones de su privacidad personal.
  • En cuanto a los riesgos económicos, se endurecen las penas por infracción grave, hasta 20 millones de euros o el 4 % de la facturación global de la compañía (la cifra más alta de ambas). Asimismo, las empresas podrían incurrir en honorarios legales e indemnizaciones a usuarios y deberán garantizar que sus proveedores externos también cumplan.

El factor humano y el tiempo de reacción: Los principales riesgos del nuevo reglamento

Según una encuesta llevada a cabo en octubre de 2017 por la IAPP (Asociación Internacional de Profesionales de la Privacidad) sobre los principales riesgos a los que se enfrentan las empresas europeas con la nueva regulación, uno de los mayores retos es cumplir con el plazo de 72 horas en caso de infracción o filtración de datos. Hay que tener en cuenta que, en muchos casos, las organizaciones desconocen si se ha producido un caso concreto de mala gestión interna o si se han visto afectados por un ciberataque hasta que el incidente trasciende – sea por los medios, por una investigación externa de los reguladores o por la denuncia del afectado.

De los once principales riesgos enumerados en el sondeo, la capacitación de los empleados en cuestiones de gestión de protección de datos y privacidad encabeza la lista de riesgos para el cumplimiento del GDPR. Tanto es así, que la medida más seleccionada entre los encuestados para mitigar el riesgo de infracción es invertir en formación y capacitación de los equipos de trabajo que tienen acceso a las identidades y estructuras de información internas.

En este sentido, y para garantizar que no se produzcan riesgos innecesarios, además de estudiar e implementar medidas de privacidad que mejoren las infraestructuras que detecten fallos de seguridad con mayor celeridad, es fundamental que las organizaciones pongan el foco de sus esfuerzos en la gestión de la identidad y los accesos, la preparación y formación en seguridad en el entorno de trabajo y el acceso a tecnologías que faciliten el camino para los empleados. Poner sobre la mesa los recursos necesarios para gestionar el factor humano se presenta como uno de los aspectos más críticos en la transición con éxito al GDPR.

Cómo podemos ayudarle

A pesar de las muchas ventajas de la digitalización, gestionar el crecimiento explosivo de datos se ha convertido en uno de los principales desafíos de la empresa moderna. Adoptar nueva tecnología y servicios de la nube para transformar su negocio es sólo el primer paso de un proceso que impactará a toda la organización y plantea una serie de riesgos y retos si no se está preparado adecuadamente para afrontar las nuevas implicaciones en áreas como la privacidad y la seguridad.

En Crayon, somos expertos en optimizar el Retorno de la Inversión (ROI) en tecnologías complejas de nuestros clientes y trabajamos para que su organización no se quede atrás en la aplicación de la normativa, haciendo que su cumplimiento signifique una inversión valiosa en su futuro digital.

Nuestro objetivo no es sólo ayudar a definir la mejor hoja de ruta para adoptar el cambio, sino también simplificar la implementación, adopción y administración del consumo de tecnología de empleados y clientes. Queremos optimizar su tiempo y retorno en sus inversiones en tecnología en la nube.

According to a survey by Holmes Report, $37 billion was lost annually due to poor employee communication and misunderstanding. “Punctuality is the soul of business,” the saying goes; but communication is undoubtedly the bridge to profits.

With collaboration being the main driving force for sustained growth in SMEs, Microsoft Office 365 has become the go-to enterprise software tool to increase productivity, reduce infrastructural costs and ease communication between users.

Below are a few key tools in the Office 365 suite that will optimise your business operations.

1: Delve – Having trouble getting the information you need at the moment? Microsoft Office Delve; a cloud-based employee profile and content manager will organise your frequently used files for easy and speedy access.

Powered by Office Graph (a database that collects information on user identity and activity), Delve will give you information in line with what you are working on and with whom. Office Delve acts as a tool to create, edit, share and curate your content in one place – across the Office 365 environment.

2: Calendar and Email – With team calendars, you can manage your schedule more efficiently be they meetings, project timelines or company events. Microsoft calendars give you the ability to stay in sync with colleagues from virtually anywhere at any time.

Alongside, Microsoft Exchange Online email service provides a rich business class email function for all your internet-enabled devices. With Exchange Online, you have access to 50GB of mailbox space per user, all maintained by Microsoft so you wouldn’t have to worry about updates, security and backup.

3: Microsoft Flow – Flow is a cloud-based tool that allows users create and automate tasks across multiple applications and services. Automated tasks are known as Flows.

With Flow, you can automate repetitive tasks without a developer, saving you the cost of hiring new staff. Further, your in-house developers will focus on more productive activities. To create a Flow, a user must specify what action should occur when a specific event is triggered. Trigger notifications are the most common use of Microsoft Flow, where you can create an automated workflow to notify via email sales reps when a lead is added to the system.

4: OneDrive for Business – Have a project with many remote users?

Saving a file on OneDrive allows you to collaborate with multiple users in real time. An integral part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite, each user gets 1TB of space to store, sync and share work files. This cloud disk space is accessible from the web on your workstation, PC, mobile devices and smartphone.

With the right permission settings, you can control access to your files. And even if you edit content offline, it automatically syncs as soon as Wi-Fi is available.

5: SharePoint Online – An office suite of cloud and web-based apps; SharePoint Online delivers powerful enterprise features without the overhead costs of setting up the infrastructure in-house.

Microsoft SharePoint makes it easier for colleagues to work together, as they share ideas, manage and store information. Working on a project with several partners? With easy access to collaborative tools, SharePoint helps you quickly access the right people and information to make better decisions and complete your projects on time. And with flexible management options, you still maintain control even when you grant external users access.

6: PowerBI – Powered by business intelligence BI: a technology-driven process designed to help executives and other corporate end-users analyse data for actionable information; Microsoft’s PowerBI is a cloud-based self-service (available as a downloadable app for Windows 10, Android and iOS) that provides non-technical users with interactive tools for analysing, visualising and sharing reports without depending on IT staff or a database administrator.

An advanced data visualisation software, PowerBI brings your data to live, stimulating better collaboration with your teams for better decision making.

7: Yammer – A private microblogging and collaboration tool for enterprise social networking; Yammer provides a simple way for your team to connect and engage. On Yammer you can discuss ideas, share updates and source for up-to-date knowledge using the Discovery feed; a smart search that delivers personalised results, helpful in decision making.

Unlike social media platforms like Facebook, Yammer only allows users who belong to the same email domain to connect with each other. This feature enables corporate employees to communicate privately, using an intuitive UI for a seamless user experience.

The world of communication and collaboration keeps evolving at almost lightning speed. Telephone, instant messaging and email have been elevated with new capabilities adding significant value to businesses. The culmination of these improvements is Unified Communications: a system that integrates multiple communication methods within a company.

Here’s how UC can drive efficiencies in your business.

  1. A More Seamless Process

Centralised data processing and communication tools like Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business can provide seamless collaboration and keyword searchable communications that can have a massive impact on your business productivity process.

Research by Mckinsey shows that improved communication through social technologies can lead to 35% improvement in the time employees spend searching for company data.

Image Source: Mckinsey

This substantiates that implementing Unified Communications in your business process can drive value both within and between enterprises by simplifying your workflow for faster, more efficient teamwork.

Aggregating you communications tools in a UC service can help you achieve real-time reporting and automate redundancy. With UC, the need to switch between programs reduces drastically due to integration with apps like Twitter, Skype and other document management and communication solutions.

  1. Improved Communications and Productivity for Employer and Employee

Often overlooked, one of the potential benefits of UC is its ability to drive productivity levels. One of the key ways of driving business efficiencies through UC is by making communication in the workforce flexible. UC facilitates an environment where different communication channels can be combined on a single platform. This way, employees can easily interact with each other, even in remote locations in real time.

With a virtualised environment through cloud infrastructure and IP based networks, you can build an IT structure that enhances UC. Further, UC can give you insights into the number of staff members working in the business at any giving time and partners operating off-site. Delivering this flexible approach to working is what UC is suited for.

  1. Enhance Social Media Usage

Millennials are the largest generation in today’s workforce with a preference for social media based means of communication

In 2017, the average person spent at least two hours per day on social media, engaged in social media apps.

Image Source: GlobalWebIndex

With this strong preference for social media based tools for work, which includes workplace learning, collaboration and instant messaging; integrating social media communication tools with your UC system can improve user engagement and customer satisfaction.

By optimising your UC channels, organisations can be more agile and decision making instantaneous as employees use social media’s real-time capabilities to communicate with colleagues. This will open up collaboration as employees will be inspired to more innovative thinking, ideas and project discussions that can take the company forward.

  1. All In One System with Flexible Work Options

Implementing a first-rate Unified Communication as a service vendor will help control the complexities that come with an all in one communications system that supports conference room integration, dial-in audio/video features such as Skype for business, file sharing and other UC solutions.

Research has shown that companies that provide flexible means for their employees experience greater productivity even in the event of unforeseen interruptions where workers can work remotely.

Although some jobs do not lend themselves to remote work, an all in one UC system can benefit staff with multiple responsibilities and work options. Although an all in one UC system offers the flexibility, prices vary depending on the unique needs of the company.

  1. Augment IT Security

With the advent of malware and cybersecurity attacks, companies must pay attention to vulnerabilities and loopholes in their IT ecosystem. Due to the integration of disparate technologies, UC comes with rather unique security challenges. Features such as voice calls, conference meetings, screen sharing etc., come with their vulnerabilities.

It is critical for companies to be aware of all these potential security risks when deploying a UC system as part of their IT strategy. Partnering with a Unified Communications provider experienced in providing secure connections across multiple software vendors and a wide range of deployment options can solve not only basic UC security concerns but also boost your overall IT infrastructure security.

If you need support on your journey to a communications and collaboration structure that’s custom designed for you, feel free to reach out to Crayons Unified Communications experts.

We will get in touch with you to find the best options for your unified communications needs.

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Organisations are always on the lookout for ways to improve productivity and teamwork among staff. Strategic to this is the adoption of enterprise level software with Microsoft Teams and Skype high on the user preference scale. With the integration of Skype for Business into Microsoft Teams, users can have one place for their content, contact and conversations for seamless teamwork.

These five tips will help you maximise your implementation.

 

Tip 1— Create Awareness for Better Adoption

An organisation looking to adopt operational software such as Microsoft Teams and Skype for business must raise awareness of what each platform is and how they can help each line of the business. Businesses must prioritise business use cases and scenarios to showcase what success using the software will look like.

One way to do this is through events hosted by the IT and marketing departments of the company and enthusiastic employees where demos will be run and success case studies passed around.

A Microsoft end-user study showed that learning from co-workers: “champions” is among the most effective methods in learning how to use a new technology. Remote offices could join in such events online through the software being demonstrated. Talk about different features of the products, and how it will affect key groups in your organisation. This will prove better than sending a general email to your staff about the upcoming migration.

Tip 2— Involve Key Stakeholders and Executives

Making the most of your Teams and Skype adoption will require a highly collaborative approach from the most integral units of the business. A considerable part of the outcome of your adoption will be determined by how involved key stakeholders and executives are during the awareness and implementation phase.

Identify and put together a “Success Team” comprised of C-level executives, reps from IT, Marketing, HR and legal who will own and drive the organisation’s desired outcome. This team can act as a face for the program, identifying business value cases to drive awareness among staff.

Tip 3— Profile End Users for User Training

When adopting a new collaboration and communications tool like Microsoft Teams and Skype, evaluating your end users based on their work requirements is critical. Not all users will fit nicely in one user group as they’re not the same. Therefore, you should group your users into categories based on user type. This process is called profiling. Profiling will help the subsequent user training be as hassle-free as possible.

This way, employees will better understand why the changes are necessary and how it affects their role in the company. Further, profiling will help you use familiar real work scenarios and business processes per each user group as a way to create connections between their tasks and the new tools.

Tip 4— Create and Test Your Communications Strategy

Although Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business are constantly changing with new features and updates added. It is important users don’t get caught up trying to use every single feature available.

Of course, Microsoft Teams and Skype offer similar communication functions like instant messaging and audio calls, which is good for interoperability; organisations should instead create specific plans that outline particular situations where you should use one software over the other.

This step will help end users define which tool to use and when despite the overlap in functionality which can be confusing. Therefore, it is expedient to run pilot tests for different profile groups to provide guidance.

Tip 5— Minimise Email Communication

A key most benefit of Microsoft Teams is that it allows businesses keep all their communication in one place. This saves users the hassle of shuffling through long email chains for internal communication.

Installing the Microsoft Teams app on user’s desktop PCs will facilitate this as they will be unlikely to default to email to engage other users due to Teams desktop notification feature. Also, Microsoft Teams and Skype make onboarding employees and users easier. Rather than forwarding numerous emails or handing over a massive pile of documents to new team members, you can simply share conversations and projects with them.

If your business relies on IT to run, you are well aware of the need for IT operations to run smoothly and efficiently for increased output.

Although building and sustaining a data infrastructure is at the centre of most organisations today, the need to control costs and maximise software investments is frequently pondered.

As an industry best practice, Software Asset Management SAM can help you accurately summarise costs and get the most out of your IT resources.

Coming to Grips with SAM

As an IT centric organisation, managing your software licenses can be a hassle. It’s noteworthy that some hardware feature some licensable components as well, not just software, as licenses come in all shapes and forms.

More than just an IT audit tool, Software Asset Management SAM is about compliance, deployment and optimisation. The underlying goal of SAM is for you to gain an overview of your software (and hardware) assets before deployment and usage.

Rather than a distinct skill, SAM is an essential business process particularly for modern IT centric corporations.

Aside from controlling the IT infrastructure of a company, negating legal issues regarding incorrect software use and ensuring your software environment is up to date, without SAM you run the risk of overspending, paying for more products than needed.

Use Sam to Evaluate Software Licensing Needs

As the use of SAM becomes sacrosanct in organisations as a business imperative to achieve optimum value from their IT investments, the need to understand and track software licenses and usage becomes apparent.

A conscientiously put together SAM program can help you manage license and legal risks while optimising your software licensing investments.

You may be looking at SAM as a Service suites to audit and control your enterprise software, or perhaps you are contemplating numerous licensing agreements to control costs, reviewing your present software licensing agreements through SAM will help you save on software outlays and find better ways of equipping your staff.

In effect, SAM will enable you to crosscheck your licensing rights and account for how you use your software assets.

Eliminate Unauthorised Software

In addition to tackling license issues with SAM, you should mandate your IT department to maintain a routinely updated record of IT assets.

Certainly this will necessitate the use of software license tracking tools; however, your organisation will make substantial savings re-harvesting licenses from unused software while eliminating unneeded and unauthorised ones.

Most IT centric companies have already defined standard software suites to run everyday operations, but that doesn’t prevent users from downloading and installing other software as well. Unauthorised software could include utilities or unrelated apps such as games or instant messaging; however, these can create IT security exposure and threats to your IT infrastructure and data.

Threats could also manifest from older versions of software in your standard software suite. You can maintain control over these inherent risks by running a tight SAM audit.

Use SAM to Control Monetary Costs

Administered through a SAM as a Service plan, SAM makes it easier to identify what software assets you have, what’s running and if redundancy exists.

A well implemented SAM program will help you cut costs, improve license compliance and security as well as anticipate software needs as your organisation evolves.

Given the complexities of running enterprise software across an organisation, SAM has proven especially helpful in gaining a competitive advantage by helping organisations highlight the pros and cons of potential IT projects.

With SAM you can determine if:

  • You can do more with the software you already have
  • You can control costs and better manage legal issues
  • Your current IT infrastructure is evolution ready

Essentially, SAM helps you optimise your IT assets while having a firm hold on expenditure.

Monitor Software Usage

Not only will SAM help you minimise unauthorised software usage, cybersecurity risks and legal issues, but you will also be empowered to use the right software for your company. Ensuring your employees use the right software for your needs will increase productivity and reduce software licensing costs as you track and account for how your software assets are used.

Software usage data will help you identify which profile groups are using which applications within your staff. You will also discover which apps are less or more used and how it impacts your employees’ productivity.

The resulting discovery will give a full view of your software inventory and insightful data that can help you manage your IT structure and save money.

For IT-centric companies, cloud computing is a core building block for productivity, communication and collaboration.

And for most, Office 365 is the preferred environment to process and manage data with over 120 million active users in December 2017.

As you look to capitalise on Microsoft Office’s powerful solutions for email, instant messaging, web conferencing etc., here are ways you can get the best out of your investment via cloud computing.

  1. IT Strategy and Business Continuity

Attaining your business goals is the core focus of an IT strategy. Adopting the right Microsoft CSP for your Office 365 implementation will improve productivity, communication and efficiency right off the bat, ensuring you get the best bang for your Office 365 buck. With a customised IT strategy by your Microsoft CSP, Office 365 will be aligned with your overall business plans from the ground up.

A reliable CSP will balance control and cost with quality service by moving you away from cost hungry, traditional communications and collaborations infrastructure to a high-value enterprise cloud-managed service. A cloud optimised Office 365 will boost your business agility through automated provisioning and orchestration.

  1. Reduced Deployment Time

As everyday business activities demand more collaboration, productivity and agility, leveraging the services of a certified Microsoft CSP will ensure a seamless procurement and adoption of Office 365.

A Microsoft CSP will plan and design a custom migration outline that’s specific to your productivity requirements.

This will ensure the right Office 365 components are deployed which will drive internal collaboration and efficiency, leading to return on investment. Further, employing the appropriate Microsoft CSP will reduce the learning curve of your in-house IT staff for planning, designing and deploying Office 365.

That time can be allocated to more relevant business initiatives. Leveraging the expertise of Crayon’s Microsoft CSP services guarantees a textbook deployment process and an automated agreement product cycle.

  1. 24/7 IT Staff Support

Working with a Microsoft CSP that offers 24/7 support will ensure your internal IT department has the necessary support for the deployment and administration of Office 365.

This will build a stronger business relationship with your chosen CSP as they provide you custom cloud computing solutions to maximise your Office 365 investment. Easing the burdens of in-house IT maintenance, your CSP also serves as an IT outsource to proactively manage and resolve any ensuing incidents as regards Office 365.

As a global top 10 Microsoft partner for Cloud platform and productivity, Crayon is well-versed in optimising your Office 365 deployment. Maybe you are just beginning your cloud journey, or you’re looking to enhance your existing Office 365 subscription, Crayon will help you plan and deploy to get the most out of your subscription.

  1. Predictable Costs and Scalability

Outsourcing your cloud managed services to a cloud-centric managed provider such as Crayon can save you hundreds to thousands each month compared to setting up an in-house IT department to run your Office 365 setup. This holds true especially if you are a small-midsized enterprise.

By outsourcing your cloud managed services to a CSP you can:

  • Control and reduce network maintenance fees
  • Decide how much you are willing to pay, thus a consistent monthly bill
  • Have a ‘’concierge’’ like plan that’s customised to your Office 365 needs

CSPs not only offer hosted cloud solutions for Office 365; support alongside scalable access to applications, resources and upgrades is included in one bill eliminating the need for costly hardware and software.

  1. Data Security and Disaster Recovery

Fluid processing and security of data is the lifeline of a cloud computing service. Having assessed and designed countless cloud infrastructure and networks, Crayon can customise a Microsoft cloud service with demonstrated redundancy and resiliency for a fluid Office 365 deployment.

With ever-increasing concerns for cybersecurity, your Office 365 adoption plan must include operational risk assessments, data protection, disaster recovery and even IT staff awareness training.

Crayon’s FREE Cloud Readiness Assessment, as well as comprehensive Cloud-iQ service, is a double-barreled approach that can help you derive the most out of your Office 365 subscription, provided you detail your company’s unique aims and IT requirements.

Built from the ground up for the Microsoft Office 365 engine, Cloud-iQ offers unparalleled cloud services augmented according to your organisation’s unique needs. Depending on your data security needs, we will analyse your current state of preparedness, and offer expert guidance on courses of action to mitigate potential cyber threats to your confidential data.

In the event of a compromise, the continuity of your business operations is guaranteed with minimal downtime (if any.)

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Microsoft is offering new tools on Azure and Office 365 to help bring firms towards complying with the EU's upcoming regulation.

How is Microsoft Helping Firms en Route to GDPR Compliance?

As the countdown to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) continues many firms are still in a mad scramble to ensure that they are prepared for its arrival. However, in an effort to stem the panic Microsoft has attempted to help bring order to the process by offering new tools on Azure and Office 365 that will help bring firms towards compliance.

The GDPR is of concern to businesses of all shapes and sizes, affecting any company wanting to do business within the EU or with member states, including US firms handling the data of European citizens.

For those within the enterprise, this means that from May 25th this year they will have a legal requirement to notify customers of any data breach within 72 hours. Failure to do so could businesses fined either €20 million or 4% of their annual global turnover – depending on which is greater.

At its core, the GDPR is an attempt by the EU to drive better standards of cybersecurity to provide increased protection for the data of EU citizens being handled by firms. Of course, the new regulations have given those within the boardroom further cause for concern, leaving some businesses feeling overwhelmed. Just last year, Thomson Reuters put the average cost of compliance for global financial organisations at $119M per organisation.

Now, Microsoft wants to assist firms with compliance by providing new GDPR-friendly tools to aid with the transition. The thinking from Redmond is that rather than just being seen as a regulatory requirement, the GDPR can be harnessed as an opportunity to strengthen relationships with customers, as well as enhancing collaboration and productivity as far as employees are concerned.

Here’s how Microsoft is helping businesses to meet the GDPR:

Microsoft is offering Compliance Manager for Azure, Dynamics 365 and Office 365 Business and Enterprise users using public clouds – grouping the services as Microsoft 365. This solution enables enterprises to perform periodic risk assessments in order to check whether they are compliant with the GDPR and other regulations.

Alongside this, Compliance Score, a feature within Compliance Manager, enables businesses to continually assess their compliance performance via a series of risk assessments on Microsoft cloud services that provide a score based on the ability to comply with the GDPR.

Another feature, Azure Information Protection scanner, allows for the protection of sensitive data on-premises by allowing you to set up policies that enable the automatic discovery, classification and protection of documents both in file servers and on-premises SharePoint servers.

When coupled with Azure Information Protection (AIP) firms can feel confident that data is securely classified as it travels across devices, applications and cloud services, thereby protecting sensitive files and emails.

Furthermore, enterprises can ensure that confidential files and information remain within the confines of the corporate network by using Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS) to read any such files labelled by AIP and set policies based on based these. The service also covers any sensitive files in cloud apps, automatically applying these labels for encryption and protection.

In addition, with the ability to automatically classify personal data being a critical part of GDPR compliance, Microsoft has already deployed over 80 out-of-the-box sensitive information types that firms can use to detect and classify data. These will soon be followed by a GDPR sensitive information type template that will enable firms to effectively consolidate everything into a single template, detecting and classifying personal data relevant to the GDPR.

To find out how Crayon and Microsoft can help you on the road towards GDPR compliance please click here.

When Microsoft launched Teams last year, the idea was to embed itself into the centre of workplace culture within the enterprise – something that saw more than 125,000 firms adopt it within just six months.

Promoting Collaboration Within the Enterprise Using Teams

For those in the boardroom the need to refine the way teams communicate with one another to achieve business goals is something that’s explored on an ongoing basis. After all, any technology that increases the likelihood of desired outcomes through collaboration in as few a steps as possible at a cost that suits is certainly something likely to be considered at board level.

So, when Microsoft launched Teams in May last year, there was a clear desire to embed itself firmly in the centre of workplace culture within the enterprise.

As an addition to Office 365, those already familiar with the ecosystem would no doubt see the benefits a new real-time messaging solution could bring to the work place and inter-office communications.

The thinking behind the solution was that Teams would go some way to replacing those annoying inter-team emails we all receive when working on projects. Instead, the new system allows the various participants – or members if you prefer – to communicate and collaborate via both chronological and threaded messages and Skype calls via Office 365 Apps like OneNote, Word, Excel and Power BI. Furthermore, as a neat addition for subscribers on the Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3 and E5 packages, Teams would offer new levels of collaboration not seen before. Even in its preview mode Microsoft confirmed that more than 50,000 organisations had signed up to the new service.

Since then, the team at Redmond has been doing its best to ensure that Teams is being constantly refined and improved upon – something that saw more than 125,000 organisations around the world buy into the solution within just six months of its launch.

Part of this has also meant opening the platform up to offer more enhanced collaboration features so that those using it can integrate more easily with Microsoft’s own applications and ecosystem, as well as other third party offerings like Trello, InVision, SurveyMonkey, Wrike or Adobe Creative Cloud.

So, what does this really mean for those within the enterprise? Well, it delivers real-time continuity whereby users of Teams now have the ability to bring information from apps into work chats and channel messages via just a simple click. Imagine the man-hours shaved across important projects as you effortlessly push information to the wider team, whilst at the same time holding direct chats, audio and video calls. With Teams this can happen. It’s something Microsoft refers to as intelligent communications with the product itself providing the hub to bring together your business conversations, meetings, files, Office apps, and third-party integrations in Office 365.

For those with experience of working in the likes of OneNote, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Power BI and SharePoint, Teams feels vey familiar and the high degree of personalisation that is now available following a recent update allows users to see apps they frequently use without having to search for them. In addition, they can also see specific collaboration apps that have been enabled by managers, as well as specifically assigned individual tasks in what is their own personal space. Of course, if there’s something you feel you’re missing and might wish to implement, a new Apps Discovery feature enables businesses to find new apps in areas such as project management, analytics and BI and simply add these in.

Another new addition from Redmond comes in the form of Who, a new app powered by Microsoft Graph that allows you to search across the enterprise for people by name and subject area or topic. Furthermore, the ability to search for information from an app and add this directly into chats and single workflows is something users will welcome as they move towards tasks of increasing complexity.

How does Microsoft think this will work in the future? Well, let’s consider what happens prior to meetings. By using Teams those taking part will be able to extract relevant documents and ‘rich’ information about those participating to help with preparations. Then, as the meeting takes place, everything can be captured, transcribed, and potentially time-coded, with the ability to use closed captioning and voice recognition for attributing remarks to specific people. Then, once the meeting is finished the actual recording and any transcript can then be added to a particular channel so that those needing information can look at any conversations, documents and notes whenever they need to follow-up, feedback or review things.

To find out more about Microsoft Teams and how Crayon can help your business with communication and collaboration, click here.

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The impact that Artificial Intelligence – and Machine Learning as an extension of this – looks set to have on enterprises in the coming years cannot be underestimated.

What is Artificial Intelligence and how can it help your business?

Today, enterprises are being asked questions about how they can further harness the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) when it comes to processing tasks and solving problems within their business. Indeed, according to a recent survey of 3,000 executives conducted by McKinsey & Co., although just a small percentage reported using AI within their core business at present, around 80% admitted to considering future deployments or experimenting with it.

Of course, in reality the ubiquitous AI has been with us for some time already, helping us with buying decisions online, when trading stocks and shares, aiding firms when it comes to tackling things like fraud and of course, assisting those at the cutting edge of cybersecurity.

Most of us are already now familiar with personal assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. And AI within the enterprise to help with problem solving, learning and planning seems like a natural extension and fit for businesses. Certainly, the impact that Artificial Intelligence – and Machine Learning as an extension of this – looks set to have in the coming years cannot be underestimated.

What began with assistance with increasingly complex calculations, work in the field of AI has moved towards mimicking human decision making processes as businesses seek to carry out tasks in this manner. Consider the incredible growth we are witnessing in areas such as computer vision – the ability to understand images and video and apply that to the wider world and the assistance it can provide businesses with when it comes to identifying products and defects that humans would have previously had to do manually.

This brings us nicely to the two types of artificial intelligence that we see within the workplace and how they apply to today’s economy. The first, Narrow AI, represents those computers going about tasks in an intelligent fashion that aren’t specifically programmed to do so. In essence this means that such systems can only be taught specific tasks. This could be anything from virtual assistants to AI solutions for spotting things like tumours in healthcare. The other flexible form of intelligence, or artificial general intelligence in essence represents that which we seek to replicate, one with reason and the adaptable form of intellect that only humans have displayed until now. Of course, the possibilities for AI are almost limitless.

Gartner was another to recently suggest that although AI is not yet commonplace within the enterprise, almost half of CIOs plan to adopt it in the near future. Furthermore, around 20 percent of CIOs have pilot AI programs in their implementation pipelines. This is because AI, when combined with cognitive computing, enables enterprises to dive deeper when it comes to analysing data analytics, identifying patterns, improving industrial processes and of course security. When you consider the impact it can have in terms of extending personal relationships with customers and end-users, the argument for further deployments that provide more accurate, actionable data becomes even more compelling.

The cloud is another aspect helping to bring AI to the masses. With the mobile internet now delivering global networking and the associated digital technologies businesses have literally billions of potential new customers. Taking this one step further, imagine cloud-based AI and the implications this might have in terms of robotics and accelerated learning processes when it comes to sharing data across huge networks.

Right now, much of the focus has been around machine learning – where a computer system is fed huge amounts of data, which is then used to learn how to carry out a specific task – and deep learning. Such tools are already helping thousands of businesses worldwide through huge cloud-based platforms such as Azure. For its part, Microsoft is offering firms on-demand AI-powered services and access to its growing ecosystem of artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning technologies.

Already trusted by around 90 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, Azure is also enabling businesses to forecast trends, create real-time data, and make accurate predictions based on that data. And with machine learning these outcomes are continually improving as firms use solutions such as Microsoft Cognitive Services, Azure Bot Service, Visual Code Studio, AI toolkits and Redmond’s own specific Machine Learning Services to add intelligence to their operations. This means enterprises can drive digital transformation and continually use data new and valuable ways.

To explore the various ways in which how AI is being used in sectors such as healthcare or to discuss how Azure can help your business please visit: https://www.crayon.com/en/