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Microsoft 365 Spotlight focus: SharePoint

Microsoft 365 has so many different products that users often feel overwhelmed with not knowing which ones to use and how to use them and then end up not using many of them at all. In this blog series we will spotlight each of the Microsoft products and break them down to show you the benefits of using each one and how you can incorporate them into your business to help you to work more efficiently.

Microsoft SharePoint is primarily a document management and storage system, but it is also highly configurable. It is a secure place to store, organise, share and access information from any device. It helps you to manage content, knowledge and applications to empower teamwork, quickly find information and seamlessly collaborate across the organisation.

Let’s look at the main advantages of using Microsoft SharePoint:

Saves you money:
Having a total cloud solution as part of your Microsoft 365 subscription, which you are already paying for, eliminates the costs of a separate cloud account and data storage plan. Also, simplifying your operating systems, can prevent you from spending additional money on fixing issues.

Enhanced Security:
Security is an everyday concern for businesses. Using SharePoint can prevent some of those security issues. Your teams can share vital information without revealing any sensitive information in documents through SharePoint real-time collaborations. Hosting your information on a single platform also reduces your risk of attacks. You can monitor user behaviour to help ensure compliance with any internal policies you might have.

Collaboration:
SharePoint is a platform which makes it easy to create and share business information from a single location. It can seamlessly connect employees with documents and information.

Easy Information Exchange:
Easy information exchange goes hand in hand with improving collaboration. Simplifying access to business information for everyone enables collaboration and keeps everyone informed and up to date. Also, users won’t have the same version control issues that are experienced when storing files on a server, you can maintain a single document, allow multiple users to continuously update it, all with a record of the changes and the ability to revert back to an earlier version if needed.

Better productivity:
Microsoft SharePoint makes it easier to transmit data, track information, work on documents and group projects and so much more without confusion or delays.

A more productive workforce means better business efficiency and profitability. Using Microsoft SharePoint can transform the way you store information and your team works and collaborates. If you are not using Microsoft SharePoint yet, it is worth seriously considering starting to use it within your business.

If you feel overwhelmed by the various features of SharePoint, and are confused about how to set it up to use it to its full potential, our team at Ilkley IT can help you to customise it for your organisation. We will talk you through every aspect of SharePoint, explaining each feature and how it works to ensure you are up and running in no time!  Contact us today, we would love to have a chat with you!

Microsoft is ending support for Internet Explorer

This week Microsoft has announced its timeline for ending its support for Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11) by this time next year.  In the article by Microsoft, they have said that on the 30 November 2020, the Microsoft Teams web app will no longer support IE 11 and on the 17 August 2021, the remaining Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support IE 11.

This means that after these dates, customers will have a degraded experience or will be unable to connect to Microsoft 365 apps and services on IE 11.   If you still choose to use IE 11 with a degraded experience, new Microsoft 365 features will not be available or certain features may cease to work when accessing the app or service.  Microsoft have said that they know the change will be difficult for some customers, they believe that customers will get the most of Microsoft 365 using the new Microsoft Edge.

Although over the years IE became the dominant web browser that everyone used, enjoying 90% of the market, and has been around for 25 years, it may surprise you to know that it is not very secure.  Over the years, Microsoft ignored web standards and continually missed essential updates and did not follow the guidelines set by the World Wide Web Consortium (the organisation that establishes standards for web technologies).  New features were only added to IE as part of a major product release, which often took years to be implemented.  This continual lack of updates leaves you as the user exposed and unsafe when browsing the internet using IE11 and more vulnerable to being targeted by cyber-attacks.

Naturally, competitors started to appear online and in 2004 Mozilla introduced Firefox and then in 2008 Google Chrome was introduced.  Interestingly, in the 10 years since Google Chrome was launched, it was updated 70 times, meanwhile Internet Explorer was updated only 4 times between its eighth version and its final one (version 11).   Of course there is also the new Microsoft Edge, this is based on a Chronium codebase which is the same as the foundations of Google Chrome but currently this has less than 2% of the market whilst Google’s browser has 65% of the market.  With so much of our information freely available when we search online, you might be looking for more privacy when browsing the internet.  Try out Brave, it provides unmatched speed, security and privacy by blocking trackers.

Modern web browsers have the ‘edge’ offering better security, speed, compatibility and plugin options.  Now is the time to check if the sites you regularly visit will still work, for example many banking sites don’t work in anything other than IE so it would be worth contacting the owner of the site to let them know.   There is still time to do this, rather than being caught out at a later stage with a site that doesn’t work.

Another old technology which is going end of life at the end of the year is Adobe Flash Player.  Adobe will stop distributing and updating Flash Player after 31 December 2020.

Technology does not stand still or nor should we.  We have to keep moving with the times and it is important to make sure we are not left behind using old versions of products which don’t work properly and are no longer supported which poses a security risk to us online.  If you would like more information about anything in this article or feel baffled about which browser is right for you and what action you should take, then contact Ilkley IT, we would love to have a chat about how we can help you.