Navigating remote work: The crucial role of reliable IT Support and Cybersecurity

In an era where remote and hybrid working models have become the norm, businesses are rapidly adapting to new digital landscapes. The shift has brought forth unprecedented opportunities, but it has also exposed companies to unique challenges, making reliable IT support and robust cybersecurity more critical than ever. Enter expert firms like Codus IT, who not only offer a lifeline for technical issues but also pave the way for streamlined operations, innovation, and fortified defenses against cyber threats.

The Changing Landscape

The remote and hybrid working trend has reshaped the traditional office setup. Employees now collaborate from various locations, relying heavily on digital tools and connectivity. While this transformation has enhanced flexibility and productivity, it has also ushered in a host of technical complexities. From network vulnerabilities to software compatibility issues, companies face a daunting array of potential pitfalls.

The Role of Reliable IT Support

Seamless Operations: Imagine a scenario where your team is on the brink of an important virtual presentation, and suddenly, the network crashes. Reliable IT support acts as a safety net, ensuring that your operations run smoothly without disruptive technical glitches.

Enhanced Security: With remote work, the need for robust cybersecurity measures is paramount. IT support experts like Codus IT can implement cutting-edge security protocols to safeguard sensitive data.

Efficient Problem Solving: When faced with technical issues, every moment counts. Professional IT support offers swift troubleshooting, minimising downtime and maximising productivity.

Resource Optimisation: Outsourcing IT needs to experts allows your in-house team to focus on strategic initiatives rather than getting bogged down by routine technical challenges.

Scalability and Innovation: As your company evolves, so do your IT requirements. A proficient IT support partner can align your digital solutions with your growth trajectory, ensuring scalability and fostering innovation.

The Vital Importance of Cybersecurity

Data Protection: In the digital age, data is a valuable asset. Robust cybersecurity measures protect your business data from unauthorised access and breaches.

Phishing and Social Engineering: Cybercriminals are adept at exploiting human vulnerabilities. Comprehensive cybersecurity includes education and training to empower employees to recognise and respond to phishing attempts.

Secure Communication: Remote collaboration relies heavily on digital communication tools. Cybersecurity ensures that sensitive information shared through these channels remains encrypted and protected from interception.

Endpoint Security: With devices scattered across different locations, endpoint security becomes critical. Effective cybersecurity measures ensure that every device connected to the network is fortified against potential threats.

Compliance and Regulations: Depending on your industry, remote work might bring forth specific compliance challenges. Adequate cybersecurity measures ensure that your operations adhere to relevant regulations.

Codus IT: Your Trusted IT and Cybersecurity Partner

With a proven track record and a team of seasoned professionals, here at Codus IT we specialise in delivering bespoke solutions tailored to the unique needs of each client. Our comprehensive approach encompasses network management, cloud integration, and cutting-edge cybersecurity.

Embrace the Future with Codus IT

In a landscape that’s rapidly evolving, businesses must stay ahead of the curve. If your company is grappling with the challenges of remote and hybrid work, it’s time to consider the invaluable support of experts like Codus IT. By entrusting your IT needs and cybersecurity to a reliable partner, you’re not only ensuring seamless operations but also safeguarding your digital assets against threats.

A new world of hybrid work with Microsoft 365 improvements

To successfully grow in this new hybrid world, every organisation needs what Microsoft refers to as a digital fabric that binds the business together with secure communication, collaboration, and creation. The aim is to enable flexibility and strengthen connections across departments and teams, but also smoothly extend to include customers, partners, and suppliers.

Here are some of the latest updates from Microsoft to enable such a platform.

– Collaboration: Microsoft are building Mesh right into Teams, recreating a lot of what people value about being together and extending productivity beyond what was previously possible. Mesh for Microsoft Teams introduces a new generation of 2D and 3D meetings, with personalised avatars and the use of AI to imitate movements and gestures that will enable people to bring their physical presence into the conversation.

– Teams meeting experience: Microsoft want to foster more inclusive and productive hybrid meetings. Users will be able to assign roles from the scheduling form and see the order of raised hands to ensure that all the voices are heard. The mobile overflow menu is also getting an update with a notification drawer for in-meeting system messages, so users can preview, collapse, and clear all notifications with one tap.

– Cross collaboration: Microsoft understands that for work to be carried out effectively in a hybrid world, it needs communication and collaboration with people both inside and outside a business. Updates to Microsoft Teams Connect will aim to remove barriers and make collaboration easier and more secure.

These will be rolled out through 2022 and will include:

Share a channel with individuals and teams across multiple organisations

Schedule a meeting and collaborate in real-time on apps

Share channels with up to 50 teams and as many organisations as you need

Enabling users to chat with team members outside the organisation with a Teams personal account

– Events: New webinars and broadcasting capabilities due to be rolled out this year will make it easy to set up and deliver professional experiences to internal and external audiences. The virtual green room will enable presenters to socialise, monitor chat, conduct Q&As, manage attendee settings, and share content before the event starts. For the events and hospitality industry, Cvent management platform is now integrated with Teams and later this year users will be able to use Cvent to manage the event lifecycle via Teams.

– A new all-in-one digital contact center solution: Powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Teams, this will bring together traditional contact center, unified communications, and customer service capabilities into one software as a service (SaaS) solution.

Windows is made for a hybrid working environment. There are many more updates and you can find out more on the Microsoft 365 latest blog post here. You can also speak to our team to see how we can help you find the right digital solutions to help you thrive in a hybrid world, and allow your team and your business to work smarter in 2022.

Windows 11: Is your computer compatible?

windows 11

The biggest update since 2015, Windows 11 launched on 5 October, 2021. However, it doesn’t mean your computer will automatically upgrade. Microsoft will likely stagger the roll-out to spread out the number of people downloading it at the same time. If you’re really keen and want to jump the queue, you can download Windows 11 directly from the Microsoft website and install it manually.

Windows 11 is designed to bring you closer to what you love and is releasing at a time when PC is playing a central role in the way we connect, create and play. When setting the minimum system requirements for Window 11, Microsoft focused on three principles to guide great user experience:




Windows 11 vs Windows 10: What you need to know

Design and interface

Windows 11 brings a more Mac-like interface to the OS, with a clean design, rounded corners and pastel shades. The iconic Start menu moves to the center of the screen along with the Taskbar. However, these can be moved back to the left, as they are in Windows 10, if you prefer.

Android app integration

Android apps will be coming to Windows 11 (though not right away) in Microsoft Store, via the Amazon Appstore. This is something Windows users have been waiting for and marks another move toward the merging of mobile and laptop devices.

Better virtual desktop support

Windows 11 will let you set up virtual desktops in a way that’s more towards the Macs layout, toggling between multiple desktops at once for personal, work, school or gaming use. In Windows 10, this was harder to set up and use.

Easier transition from monitor to laptop

Snap Groups and Snap Layouts – These are collections of the apps you’re using at once that sit in the taskbar, and can come up or be minimised at the same time for easier task switching. They also let you plug and unplug from a monitor easily, without losing where your open windows are located.

Microsoft Teams added to the Taskbar

Teams is getting a facelift and will be integrated directly into the Windows 11 taskbar, making it easier to access.

Touchscreen, voice and pen support

Microsoft has aimed to improve the experience for touch, with more space between icons on the taskbar. Windows 11 also adds haptics to your digital pen, so you can hear and feel vibrations as you use it for taking notes or drawing. The OS also introduces voice typing and commands across the system.

Assessing Upgrade Eligibility

Microsoft knows that some customers will want an easy-to-use process for determining if their PC meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 11 and is eligible for the upgrade. To help with this, they are providing the PC Health Check app for Windows 10 PCs. In addition to diagnostic checks, there is a push-button simple way to check upgrade eligibility for Windows 11. Once Windows 11 is released, Windows Update will also offer a way to assess upgrade eligibility. You will be able to access this from Settings > Update & Security. These options are designed for customer PCs that are not managed by an IT administrator. If your PC is managed by an IT administrator, you should check with them on options for assessing eligibility and upgrading to Windows 11.

For those who ultimately are not able to upgrade their existing PC to Windows 11 due to device ineligibility and are not ready to transition to a new device, Windows 10 remains the right choice. Windows 10 will still be supported through October 14, 2025, and we recently announced that the next feature update to Windows 10 is coming later this year. Make sure to give us a ring to find out more.

What’s new in Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 allows you to be productive from anywhere, at any time. Recently, Microsoft have introduced additional collaborative apps, a new Q&A app for Microsoft Teams, a new Communities app, and much more. We have summarised all the latest feature in this blog.

microsoft 365

Take notes and edit records right within Teams

Confluence Cloud by Atlassian was introduced to Teams, designed to enable more effective meetings where users can take notes with a Confluence notes panel inside a Teams meeting. This allows users to format notes such as action items, decisions, mentions, and tables. These notes are then formatted and automatically shared in a Teams channel.

Salesforce for Teams

Sales and service teams using Salesforce Sales Cloud or Service Cloud can now bring account data and records into their Teams workspace. Users can now pin Salesforce records to channels, chats, and calendar meetings to easily keep access to them.

Virtual health workflows for frontline healthcare workers

To help healthcare workers schedule and manage virtual appointments, Microsoft has introduced Microsoft Bookings with Microsoft Teams in all Microsoft 365 for frontline workers product licenses. This provides a low-cost licensing option for healthcare providers that are interested in using Teams to support virtual health and care team collaboration.

Q&As for Teams meeting

A new Q&A app has been introduced that enables attendees to ask and reply to questions before and during a meeting. Organisers and presenters can mark best answers, filter responses, moderate and dismiss questions, and pin posts. The Q&A app will be generally available in September.

Communities app in Teams and Outlook for web

The Communities app for Microsoft Teams is powered by Yammer, into Microsoft Teams. In the coming weeks, Microsoft are updating the app’s design, bringing enhancements to notifications and adding new capabilities like suggested communities, which will use AI to recommend valuable communities to join.

Microsoft wants you to take breaks

Research has shown that small breaks throughout the day make a big difference in employee wellbeing. Because of this, Microsoft are introducing new features in Outlook and Yammer to help ensure you can plan breaks as needed throughout your working day.

Pin messages at the top of your inbox

For a busy inbox, finding a specific email can be tedious and disruptive to your workflow. Microsoft have added the ability to pin a message, moving it to the top of your inbox so it’s easy to find later. Pinned messages is now generally available to all users in Outlook for the web, Mac, and mobile.

Additionally, message reminders in Outlook on the web help you stay on top of things by bringing messages you might have missed to the top of your inbox.

Microsoft wants you to be productive

Planner now supports suggested attachments in tasks. This means that, when you want to add attachments to a task, Planner will show you a list of related files for you to select from. To experience the new capability, within a task in Planner for the web, scroll down to the bottom of the task to find the Suggested attachments section and select Add next to the file you’d like to attach.

Create shapes in your diagrams in Visio for the web

Microsoft have added Draw Shape tool, enabling you to draw shapes, including rectangles, squares, lines, circles, and ellipses, at the size and location you prefer. To create a shape in your diagram from the Insert tab, select the Draw Shape drop-down, select the shape you want, click anywhere in the canvas, and then drag to draw the shape.

To find out more about the Microsoft packages available and how they can help you work smarter, simply contact our team on 0161 763 4529

Time Management Tips from Microsoft

As February is known as National Time Management month, we thought it would be fitting to research some of the top time management tips from Microsoft and share them with you all.

Codus IT - Microsoft Time Management

Time management is usually one of the most common issues in the way of productivity under normal circumstances. However, working from home comes with its own additional challenges. Time has always been one of the most precious and scarce resources. In today’s real life, we find ourselves managing work and personal time, as well as our digital time where we keep track of all the various apps we use.

In August 2020, Microsoft reported a 30% increase in scheduled meetings and a 1000% increase in video calls. They reported that 30% of the meetings scheduled were running over the scheduled times. The study also highlighted a 52% increase in the number of instant messages sent between 6pm and midnight – reflecting the home schooling challenges and disrupted work-life balance.

Spend less time preparing for meetings

Codus IT - Microsoft Time Management Meeting Prep

Understandable, online meetings have replaced the everyday face-to-face meetings, as well as the informal office conversations, catch-ups and social conversations. With more meetings comes more time to prepare and the need for effective time management.

Being able to find the information you require quickly will make a significant difference in your daily time management. Outlook has a very cool feature which allows you to find the information you need for your meetings in one place. Meeting Insights brings the email messages and files that may be relevant for your meeting right into the event details on your calendar.

Microsoft have also made it easier and faster to see all the details for a meeting right from your inbox. You can switch between messages and meeting details, see who is attending and even add an online meeting link.

Outlook and Teams have come on a great deal. However, it is possible you may receive a meeting invitation from alternative online meeting services. For this, Microsoft have added a one-tap JOIN experience in Outlook mobile. So whether the invitation comes from Teams, Zoom, Webex or other platforms, all you need to do is tap JOIN and off you go!

Protect your personal time

Codus IT - Microsoft Time Management - Personal and Work Calendar

Last year, Microsoft embarked on an insightful research (The Future of Work), set to uncover both good and challenging aspects of remote work. This allowed them to accelerate product development in the right areas and anticipate how work will change in the future. It also helped their customers thrive in this new world of work.

The report mentioned that the concept of 9 to 5 was fading away, with a more flexible schedule on the rise. Over the last 12 months, people have been working at the hours that are convenient for them, considering their personal and family commitments. Because of this, Microsoft reported that working hours increased in the mornings, evenings, and weekends.

With personal and working hours blending together and feeling the need to always be switched on, it is important to also consider time management personal matters.

It is now possible to add your personal calendar to your work account. This allows you to manage both work and personal time in one place. Microsoft have also thought about your privacy: the events in your personal calendar will show confidentially in your work account (set as busy with no details) when someone is looking to schedule a meeting with you using the Scheduling Assistant function.

To tackle the issue of ‘out-of-hours’ activity, Microsoft have introduced a scheduling feature in Outlook. You can now compose an email and then schedule for it to be delivered at a time that is convenient. This stops the ‘out-of-hours’ replies, as research suggested that people felt they had to reply to incoming emails no matter what time they landed in their inbox. Furthermore, it is now also possible to snooze and email so that you can come back to it at a better time or when you have the information you need to reply. You can do this my right-clicking on the message in Outlook on the web or swiping on the message in Outlook mobile.

Manage your calendar effectively

Codus IT - Microsoft Time Management - To Do List

Microsoft suggests that getting things done at a convenient time and making sure you prioritise your to do list and breaks in your calendar can help you feel more in control and balanced.

It is now possible to crate tasks from a mobile email message. These are synced and available across Microsoft 365, include the same email subject and the original email content, as well as a link to the conversation in Outlook for quick reference from To Do.

However, sometimes the email subject is not detailed enough to be created as a task and we need to be more specific when we add an email as a task, so we know exactly what we need to do quickly. This can now be done by highlighting part of an email message and add it as a task. You can also use My Day in the calendar to make sure you are assigning time to complete the tasks that are important in your day and week.

And if you really want to make the most of the Microsoft time management tools, check out Play My Emails in Outlook. You can let Cortana read out your new messages so you can listen hands-free, stay connected and quickly learn if someone has made a change to your calendar. Of course, always check who is around you before using this tool in case some of the messages contain confidential information.

Microsoft 365 is constantly evolving and looking for ways to keep up with today’s demands. If you run Microsoft 365 but you don’t think you are using it to its full potential feel free to contact us on 0161 763 4529 and we will help you unblock the fantastic features at your disposal.