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BUI supports global security awareness campaign

BUI supports global security awareness campaign

BUI is proud to participate in Cyber Security Awareness Month as a Champion Organisation for the sixth consecutive year. Founded in 2004, Cyber Security Awareness Month (held each October) is the world’s foremost initiative aimed at promoting cyber security awareness and best practices. The campaign is a collaborative effort among businesses, government agencies, colleges and universities, associations, non-profit organisations, communities and individuals to educate others about online safety.

“Knowledge and vigilance are essential when it comes to cyber security,” says BUI Global CEO Ryan Roseveare. “You need to know what to look out for. You need to know what to do when you see a red flag. And you need to be alert whenever you’re online. Cyber Security Awareness Month plays a key role in educating the public about common cyber risks and encouraging everyone to become more vigilant. BUI is pleased to join the international community in this focused effort to improve cyber security awareness worldwide.”

From smartphones to web-enabled home devices, technology is deeply intertwined with our lives. And while the evolution of technology accelerates, cybercriminals are working just as hard to find ways to compromise technology and disrupt our personal and business activities.

Cyber Security Awareness Month aims to highlight some of the emerging challenges that exist in the world of cyber security today and provide straightforward, actionable guidance which anyone can follow to create a safer, more secure digital world for themselves and their loved ones.

Starting this year, the new theme of Cyber Security Awareness Month is Secure Our World. The main messaging revolves around four cyber security practices:

  1. Creating strong passwords and using a password manager. The strongest passwords are long and unique, with a mixture of character types (lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols).
  2. Enabling multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, adds an extra layer of security to digital accounts by making secondary authentication mandatory.
  3. Recognising and reporting phishing. Public awareness is essential as cybercriminals continue to refine their tactics for phishing scams conducted through emails, text messages, chats, and phone calls.
  4. Keeping software updated. The latest updates and security patches are important to install to ensure that operating systems, internet browsers, and applications are safeguarded.
  5. Cyber Security Awareness Month continues to build momentum and impact with the goal of providing everyone with the information they need to stay safe online. BUI is proud to support this far-reaching online safety awareness and education initiative, which is co-managed by the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

    For more information about the 2023 Cyber Security Awareness Month campaign, you can visit the CISA and Stay Safe Online websites. You can also follow BUI on LinkedIn, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) for helpful tips and resources throughout October, and join the global conversation by including the hashtag #CyberSecurityAwarenessMonth in your own social media posts.

Improve your security posture with an award-winning technology partner.

Cybercriminals are targeting enterprises big and small to try to gain access to sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data and resources. How are you protecting your IT environment?

Stay ahead of threat actors by choosing a comprehensive managed extended detection and response service from BUI. Contact our team to explore Cyber MXDR today.

BUI earns ISO 22301 certification

Our commitment to ensuring business continuity – even in the face of disruption – has been recognised by the British Standards Institution.

We’re proud to announce that we have earned ISO 22301 certification after a rigorous independent evaluation by the British Standards Institution last month. The ISO 22301 badge is recognised internationally and sets the standard for Business Continuity Management Systems.

“This certification highlights the strength of our company’s business continuity strategy,” says Gayle Roseveare, our Chief Operating Officer (COO) here at BUI. “It proves to our staff, partners and customers that we’re prepared for any eventuality – and that we’re able to serve and support the people who rely on us, no matter what. Our ISO 22301 badge represents our commitment to effective risk management, organisational resilience, and reliability – even in the face of disruption,” notes Roseveare.

What is ISO 22301?

Developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation, ISO 22301 lays out a framework to help companies like ours create, implement, and maintain a comprehensive business continuity management system (BCMS). The main aim is to ensure that companies are protected against unforeseen business challenges and equipped to respond and recover when such events do occur.

“BUI is a global company with offices in East Africa, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States,” says Roseveare. “On any given day, our teams are provisioning cloud infrastructure, monitoring and securing digital environments, and delivering a wide range of IT services to customers. We operate around the world and around the clock – and we have to be able to do so continuously. Whether there are power outages in South Africa or internet connectivity issues in Europe, we need to ensure we can deliver uninterrupted services to our customers. Our ISO 22301 certificate validates our planning for disruptive incidents and disasters.”

Why is ISO 22301 certification important?

“In an unpredictable business climate, it pays to be prepared,” explains Dhiren Boodhia, our Group Governance and Compliance Manager. “And that goes double for service providers like us. To earn our ISO 22301 certificate, we had to demonstrate that we have a thorough BCMS in place; that the staff in our various offices understand the BCMS and the processes required to sustain it; and that we are focused on maintaining business continuity and sustainability regardless of market uncertainties and challenges. I think the ISO 22301 badge is an important differentiator – especially when customers are looking for a steadfast technology ally that is as dedicated to legal and regulatory compliance as it is to protecting the business resources of the organisations it works with,” he says.

For customers who choose to partner with BUI, there are five key benefits, adds Boodhia.

  1. Consistency. ISO 22301 emphasises the importance of consistency when it comes to best practices and business processes. “We’ve been assessed on our capabilities around risk assessment and impact analysis as well as our strategies for mitigating disruptions. Our teams excelled in every area – and that means our customers can expect the highest standards of service and care from everyone at BUI,” says Boodhia.
  2. Data protection. With the cyber threat landscape evolving so quickly, data privacy and data security are critical considerations for customers. “ISO 22301 includes extensive conditions for data protection and data recovery,” notes Boodhia. “Our ISO 22301 badge, together with the ISO 27001 certification we achieved for our commitment to information security management, should give our customers even greater confidence: we handle all data respectfully and safely.”
  3. Faster recovery. “ISO 22301 requires us to have a holistic strategy in place to deal with disruptions and disasters. It also mandates a detailed recovery plan to ensure that downtime is minimised – for our company and for the business organisations we serve,” says Boodhia. “BUI customers can be assured that, in the event of an issue, our teams will follow a step-by-step framework to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”
  4. Greater compliance. By achieving ISO 22301 certification, BUI has met the global benchmark for business continuity management, adds Boodhia. “Many of our customers operate in highly regulated industries, like financial services and healthcare, and they must adhere to their own standards in terms of the services they provide to their clients. BUI is committed to maintaining essential functions during adverse circumstances – and that’s a big plus for customers who have strict compliance obligations.”
  5. Peace of mind. ISO 22301 calls for certified organisations to update and improve their business continuity processes to ensure that their strategies remain current, relevant, and effective. “We’re obligated to adapt and enhance our BCMS plan as our company grows,” explains Boodhia. “It’s good news for our customers because it means we’re always prepared. Whatever happens, the BUI services and solutions that so many businesses utilise every day will be available.”

Our commitment to your success

ISO 22301 may be our newest certification, but it’s also a testament to our unwavering focus on our customers, notes our COO. “To be a dependable, reliable technology partner, you need to anticipate the challenges you’re going to face and then take the necessary steps to ensure that you can address those challenges as soon as they arise. We’re being proactive today so that we’re ready for tomorrow – and always on hand to help our customers be productive, secure, and resilient,” Roseveare concludes.

Do you have a disaster recovery plan in place?

Our experts can help you craft a comprehensive backup strategy aligned with your business structure, your IT resources, your budget, and your goals.

Contact our team to arrange a discussion today.

Start planning your StorSimple data migration today

Microsoft support for the StorSimple 8000 series will end in December 2022. Have you started planning your data migration yet?

On 31 December 2022, Microsoft will end support for all StorSimple 8000 series devices and StorSimple Data Manager and Snapshot Manager software. This end of support (EOS) date will coincide with the discontinuation – or end of life (EOL) – of the StorSimple service.

If you’re using StorSimple as your hybrid cloud storage solution, then it’s important to understand how EOS for the 8000 series and EOL retirement of the service itself will impact your enterprise. Here’s what you need to know…

EOS for the StorSimple 8000 series is effective on 31 December 2022. On that day, Microsoft will end support for:

  • StorSimple 8000 series (8100, 8600, 8010, 8020) devices
  • StorSimple Data Manager
  • StorSimple Snapshot Manager

EOL for the StorSimple service is also effective on 31 December 2022, which means the following will no longer be available:

  • All cloud management capability
  • Access to live data and backups
  • Access to customer support resources (phone, email, web)
  • Hardware replacement parts and repair services for StorSimple 8000 series devices
  • Software updates for StorSimple 8000 series devices

StorSimple users are being encouraged to finalise a migration strategy as soon as possible to avoid losing critical stored data when the StorSimple service is discontinued at the end of the year. Today, we’re answering the most common questions about StorSimple migrations to help you take your next steps…

Q. Why is Microsoft ending support for the StorSimple 8000 series?

A. The StorSimple 8000 series follows Microsoft’s Fixed Lifecycle Policy. Mainstream Support ended on 1 July 2020 and Extended Support will end on 31 December 2022.

Several other StorSimple products – including the StorSimple 5000 series, 7000 series and 1200 series – also follow Microsoft’s Fixed Lifecycle Policy, and adhere to their own EOS timelines:

Since its launch in November 2014, the StorSimple 8000 series has been embraced by enterprises looking for the best of both worlds: the scalability of cloud storage for limitless capacity, and on-premises physical or virtual storage arrays for performance and flexibility. Now, as Microsoft continues to expand its portfolio of Azure hybrid storage capabilities with new services for data tiering and cloud ingestion, there are more options for customers to store data natively in Azure.

Q. I have data stored locally on my StorSimple device. What will happen to that data, beyond the StorSimple EOL date in December 2022?

A. You will lose all data stored locally on your StorSimple device, which has a limited, local cache capacity. Microsoft has advised customers: “Once the StorSimple cloud service is shut down, you will not be able to access tiered files that your local device only holds a cloud reference for… Eventually, the device will stop working when it is no longer able to reach the cloud service.” To preserve your data, you need to migrate it into a new solution before the StorSimple EOL date in December 2022.

Q. I have a StorSimple 8000 series device on-premises. What will happen to it, beyond the StorSimple EOL date in December 2022?

A. Depending on your contractual obligations, you may be able to keep the device hardware. Microsoft has indicated that it will not ask for leased devices to be returned. Bear in mind that your device will stop working; the StorSimple service will stop working; and hardware and software support will no longer be available from Microsoft.

Q. What are my StorSimple migration options?

A. As a StorSimple customer, you have a range of choices for migrating your data – but the right choice will depend on your particular business environment. You’ll have to evaluate your existing StorSimple deployments and workloads, and then match them with an alternative solution that can support your current file-storage demands and scale to meet your future requirements. Need help? Talk to our experts, who can recommend the right solution for your enterprise and customise a migration strategy to streamline your StorSimple move.

Q. How long will it take to complete my StorSimple migration?

A. Every StorSimple migration project is different and time-to-completion will depend on the structure of the existing StorSimple deployment, the data volumes in play, and any bandwidth limitations, among other factors. The depth and breadth of the planning and preparation done beforehand will also affect the speed and progression of the migration, so make sure that you engage with your cloud solution provider in advance.

The timelines announced by Microsoft (EOS for the StorSimple 8000 series and EOL for the StorSimple service) are concrete – and there are only a few months left until yearend. If you haven’t started planning your StorSimple data migration yet, then you should prioritise the task immediately so that your stored files remain accessible beyond 31 December 2022.

‘Find your passion and make it your life’

BUI Technical Consultant Emily Bekker tells us how she embraced her inner nerd and defied expectations to pursue a career in technology.

“I did one of those aptitude tests in high school and the recommended job for me was ‘mechanic’ or something hands-on like that,” says BUI Technical Consultant Emily Bekker as she describes an early discussion about her career path. “The test revealed that I used both sides of my brain equally… Left and right, or logical and creative, pretty much the same. I was advised to look at professions where I’d get to use the two abilities together, but I already knew I wanted to work with computers. I knew that my analytical nature would serve me well,” recalls Bekker.

When she matriculated in 2005 and announced her plans to pursue CompTIA’s A+ and Network+ certifications, there were a few raised eyebrows in her Free State hometown. “My family and friends were supportive, but they were also really surprised. There were a lot of conversations that started with ‘why’,” laughs Bekker. “Even in the early 2000s, I guess the idea of a young woman wanting to study something so technical was a bit strange to people. And maybe there were expectations for me to explore art instead,” she muses.

Bekker comes from an artistic family and has been drawing and painting since childhood. “When I was little, I wanted to become a graphic designer,” she confesses. “But I got my first computer in primary school and I was fascinated by it.” Bekker’s PC DOS 6.1 provided hours of entertainment when it worked – and when it didn’t. “I was a total nerd… I still am! I’d spend all day trying to find the problem and fix it. I was curious about technology, and I was determined to learn as much as possible about my computer, step by step.”

Curiosity and critical thinking

While she’s always been inquisitive, Bekker credits her parents for the measured, methodical approach to problem-solving that she’s employed throughout her career. “My mom and dad are very grounded and very rational. They taught me how to think critically and how to look at things from different angles,” she explains. “These are valuable skills to have when you’re in an IT job, especially one where troubleshooting is an integral part of your day.”

Armed with her A+ and Network+ qualifications and a solid foundation in hardware and software support and network maintenance, Bekker joined a computer sales-and-repair store in Welkom. “It was my initiation into operational support, but I learned so much about sales, customer service, and business processes,” she says, adding that the position paved the way for her later roles with larger corporate and retail establishments, as well as a lengthy spell with a gold-mining firm.

“Working in the mining sector was an eye-opener for me,” remembers Bekker. “I knew, going in, that it was a male-dominated industry, but I’m not sure I was prepared for the level of gender bias I experienced back then. It was intimidating at first, but I wanted to prove myself. I also wanted to prove that success didn’t come down to gender.” Bekker’s tenacity paid off, and she counts her seven years as an on-site support technician among her most formative experiences.

Making a real difference for customers

Today, as a technical consultant and key member of the BUI managed services team, Bekker provides operational and service support to customers around the world. “No two days are the same, and I love that about my job,” she says, explaining how she might move from server patching one moment to desktop troubleshooting the next. “I spend a lot of time talking to people, and it’s so rewarding to be able to help them. When I’ve answered their question or fixed their issue, and they can happily move on with their day, I know I’ve made a difference. There’s always something new to learn, though, and that certainly keeps things interesting!”

Bekker is currently studying towards her Microsoft 365: Modern Desktop Administrator (Associate) certification, and plans to expand her M365 skills in the future so that she’s equipped to manage and secure Microsoft 365 enterprise environments. “I’m grateful to have such supportive colleagues here at BUI, and to be part of a company where career development is not only encouraged, but enabled.” As an enthusiastic learner, Bekker admits she finds it tough to walk away from her textbooks. “But I’m taking Women’s Day off, for sure,” she chuckles, sharing her plans for a spa day with her mom.

What else is on the horizon for Bekker? She hasn’t closed the door on her childhood aspirations and may still add “graphic design” to her list of skills – but technology remains her favourite niche. “I’m always telling people to get into the IT field… A logical brain and a healthy sense of curiosity will take you far in this industry. And don’t let anyone box you in: when you find your passion, make it your life,” she concludes.

Endpoint solutions: BUI earns 10th advanced specialization from Microsoft

We’re excited to announce that we’ve been awarded the Microsoft Modernize Endpoints Advanced Specialization for our holistic expertise in endpoint deployment, management, and security.

The Modernize Endpoints Advanced Specialization is our 10th such premier accreditation from Microsoft and our fourth in the Modern Work category, which includes Adoption and Change ManagementCalling for Microsoft Teams, and Teamwork Deployment.

To achieve it, Microsoft partners are required to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of Azure technologies and Microsoft 365, including modern and virtual desktop administration in enterprise environments. “We undergo an in-depth audit, and it’s a review of our skills, competencies, and business performance,” explains Managing Director Ryan Roseveare. “But more than that, it’s an evaluation of our ability to provide the highest levels of service. I’m proud to say the BUI team passed with flying colours once again.”

“Advanced specializations like this are important differentiators,” adds Chief Technology Officer Willem Malan. “Customers are looking for cloud partners they can trust to deliver sound guidance and superior support on every project. The Modernize Endpoints accreditation proves not only our technical aptitude, but also our success in managing access to corporate resources across mobile, desktop, and virtual endpoints. It’s a hallmark of service excellence that gives customers peace of mind. I’m thrilled to see BUI – and our Cloud Centre of Excellence in particular – acknowledged in this way.”

Effective endpoint management

In today’s hybrid workplaces, effective endpoint management is critical for productivity and security alike, says Cloud Centre of Excellence Lead Dhiren Boodhia. “More and more enterprises are giving their people the power to work from any device, in any location, and it certainly paves the way for greater collaboration across teams and time zones. But to enable remote and on-the-move employees to carry out their tasks effectively and safely, you have to deliver reliable services, consistent user experiences, and comprehensive security, no matter the endpoint in play.”

The evolving cyberthreat landscape means it’s also crucial to manage and safeguard endpoints from the get-go, notes Malan. “Your devices must be up-to-date and protected, your operating systems must be secure by design, and user access to your applications and data must be controlled. This is all possible with Microsoft technologies. Here at BUI, we’re already leveraging our expertise in security, virtualisation, networking, and identity and access management to help customers transform their endpoint estates for a more modern, secure way of working,” he says.

Roseveare welcomes Microsoft’s latest recognition of our team’s focus and acumen. “The Modernize Endpoints Advanced Specialization verifies that we can support businesses throughout the process of endpoint modernization, and empower them to give their people seamless work experiences, every day. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Microsoft, and helping our mutual customers thrive with tools geared for the hybrid workplace,” he concludes.

Build business resiliency with endpoint management for the hybrid workplace.

You can give your remote and hybrid teams a more flexible, secure workplace that allows them to use whatever device they want to carry out daily tasks.

Talk to our experts about modern endpoint management, with cloud-powered tools for additional security, and build your business resilience with a trusted partner.

BUI named MXDR partner for Microsoft’s new business security services

BUI is proud to announce its selection as a Managed Extended Detection and Response (MXDR) partner for Microsoft’s new business security services, Microsoft Security Experts.

Microsoft Security Experts was unveiled this month and includes three new managed services: Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting, Microsoft Defender Experts for XDR, and Microsoft Security Services for Enterprise. Two existing services – Microsoft Security Services for Modernization and Microsoft Security Services for Incident Response – are now also part of this portfolio.

As an MXDR partner, BUI will work in conjunction with Microsoft to manage extended detection and response services for some of the largest enterprise customers globally, from threat monitoring to mitigation and investigation.

“We’re excited to continue our security journey with Microsoft,” says BUI Managing Director Ryan Roseveare. “This new collaboration builds on our longstanding relationship, and we look forward to working alongside Microsoft to help customers protect and defend their IT environments from emerging cyberthreats.”

A timely development

In 2021, Microsoft security technology blocked over 9.6 billion malware threats and more than 35 billion phishing emails and malicious messages. “Technology is critical, but it’s the combination of leading technologies, comprehensive threat intelligence, and highly skilled people that makes for a truly effective security posture,” notes Vasu Jakkal, Microsoft Corporate Vice President: Security, Compliance, Identity, and Management.

Roseveare agrees. “The cybersecurity landscape is incredibly complex. You need comprehensive tools and holistic knowledge to navigate it successfully. Here at BUI, we’ve focused on building both: our Cyber Security Operations Centre is a state-of-the-art facility designed to leverage and integrate with Microsoft technology, and our security specialists are world-class technologists with a deep understanding of the challenges that businesses are facing today.”

BUI’s tried-and-tested blend of people, process and technology will be critical going forward, adds Roseveare, given the alarming increase in the number and sophistication of cyberattacks.

A trusted partner

BUI was part of a select group of Microsoft Partner organisations involved in the development of Microsoft Security Experts. As a Microsoft Azure Expert MSP, a managed security service provider, and a member of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association, BUI is consistently recognised as a strategic partner for cybersecurity innovation. BUI holds nine Microsoft Advanced Specializations – including Cloud Security and Threat Protection – and earned Microsoft South Africa’s Security Partner of the Year Award in 20212020, and 2019.

“We’re serious about security. We always have been,” says Roseveare. “We’ve earned the trust and loyalty of customers around the world because we provide the best possible security solutions and the right advice. As an MXDR partner for the Microsoft Security Experts portfolio, we’ll continue to put our expertise to work for customers – because we’re here to help them safeguard their business resources, from the endpoint to the cloud,” he concludes.

Improve your security posture with an expert partner.

Cybercriminals are targeting businesses large and small to try to gain access to sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data and resources.

What steps have you taken to prevent a breach? Stay ahead of threat actors by choosing a managed detection and response service from BUI.

Understanding Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience

Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience has reached Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform licensing in the Cloud Solution Provider programme – and there are significant changes coming in 2022.

Here at BUI, we’re already hard at work, helping our cloud customers to navigate the New Commerce Experience successfully.

We’re also fielding queries from business teams who are struggling to understand Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience. We hear you. And that’s why we’re tackling your most common questions today. You asked, and we’re answering. Let’s take a closer look.

Q. What is the New Commerce Experience?

A. The New Commerce Experience (NCE) is Microsoft’s integrated commercial platform, designed to simplify the sale of its cloud products and services globally.

Microsoft created the NCE to streamline and standardise licensing via Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs), Enterprise Agreements (EAs), and its own online portals – so that customers experience similar pricing and terms across a number of sales models.

In 2019, Microsoft implemented the NCE for CSPs, starting with Microsoft Azure. And since then, the NCE has been rolled out in stages. Today, customers with Azure Plan subscriptions – as well as those who buy Azure Reserved Instances, perpetual software, server software, and third-party apps and offers through CSPs – transact through the NCE platform.

In January 2022, Microsoft expanded the NCE to include commercial seat-based subscriptions for Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform in the CSP programme – and introduced new offers with new rules.

“The New Commerce Experience is the present and future of how Microsoft sells cloud products and services to customers, both directly and through partners… It will also make the selling process, requirements, and capabilities much more consistent across the Microsoft sales ecosystem.” – MICROSOFT

Q. What does the New Commerce Experience mean for my business?

A. Simply put, the NCE will change the way that you purchase Microsoft 365 (M365), Dynamics 365 (D365), and Power Platform subscriptions from your CSP. There are three key differences between the legacy CSP experience you’re familiar with and the NCE. It’s important to note:

1. The subscription options. Under the NCE, there are monthly and annual subscription options to help you cater for fixed and fluid staffing scenarios within your business.

  • Monthly subscriptions give you the freedom to purchase licences on a month-to-month basis as needed, and the flexibility to decrease the number of licences at the end of the month. There is, however, a 20% price premium for month-to-month subscriptions.
  • Annual (12 months) and Multi-Year (36 months) subscriptions provide price protection for longer term commitments. You will be able to add licences during the term, but you will only be able to decrease licence counts at the end of the term.

2. The cancellation policy. In the legacy CSP experience, an option to cancel a subscription wasn’t available. Instead, your CSP could suspend a subscription to stop the billing for it, and the subscription would expire if not renewed at the end of the term.

  • Under the NCE, a seat-based subscription of any term length can be cancelled – BUT only within the first 72 hours of the term, with a prorated refund (calculated daily). After the first 72 hours, no cancellation is possible, and billing will continue for the remainder of the term.
  • The cancellation period of 72 hours includes all days of the week, and doesn’t exclude weekends or holidays. So, if a subscription is purchased on a Friday, you will have until the following Monday to cancel it.

3. The seat reduction policy. Seat counts on NCE subscriptions can be reduced – BUT only within the first 72 hours of the term. After the first 72 hours, no seat reductions are possible. It’s therefore critical to ensure that your subscriptions and seat counts are accurate from the start of the agreement.

Q. Why should I have my subscriptions moved to the NCE?

A. Microsoft has made it clear that the NCE platform will soon be the platform on which all CSP products and services are provisioned.

During the months in which the NCE and the legacy CSP experience are available side by side, your CSP will initiate the process of moving your existing subscriptions to the NCE platform, and start placing new subscriptions via the NCE in preparation for the eventual decommissioning of the legacy CSP experience.

Q. When will my subscriptions on the current platform be required to be moved to the NCE?

A. From 10 March 2022, CSPs will no longer be able to order new subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform. From 1 July 2022, CSPs will no longer be able to renew existing subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform. You should engage directly with your CSP to determine the best schedule for your transition to the NCE. Your licensing strategy, your business needs, and your budget (among other factors) should be considered during this discussion.

Q. What other dates do I need to know about?

A. Microsoft is clear about the NCE timelines, and there are several dates to diarise:

1 March 2022. Although unrelated to the New Commerce Experience, Microsoft’s previously announced commercial price increases for Microsoft 365 come into effect at the beginning of March this year. If you have Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Office 365 E1, Office 365 E3, Office 365 E5, or Microsoft 365 E3 subscriptions in play, then you’ll need to consider the new pricing as part of your planning for the NCE.

10 March 2022. All new subscriptions must be purchased via the NCE platform from 10 March 2022 onward. Your CSP will no longer be able to order new subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform.

1 July 2022. Starting in July, all renewals must occur via the NCE platform. Your CSP will no longer be able to renew existing subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform.

From October 2022, all customers will have to make purchases via the NCE platform.

In June 2023, all legacy CSP subscriptions will be retired.

Now’s the time to review your subscriptions

If you rely on Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform in your day-to-day business environment, then it’s important to evaluate your current subscriptions in line with the New Commerce Experience timelines.

How many licences do you have? How many licences do you actually need? Are you paying a premium for features that aren’t being used? What is the best time for your business to transition from the legacy CSP experience to the NCE? What Microsoft NCE promotions can you take advantage of right now? Consider these questions with your CSP as you review the cloud solutions that enable workplace productivity for your teams.

Need help? We can optimise your Microsoft licensing.

As a Microsoft Azure Expert MSP and Gold Microsoft Partner with 16 competencies and 9 advanced specialisations, BUI is a recognised cloud and security leader.

Let’s talk about streamlining your Microsoft licences, refining your purchasing strategy, and maximising your cost savings for this year and the years ahead.

Are your endpoint security measures tough enough for the times?

More than 80% of enterprises had embarked on a hybrid workplace journey by the middle of 2021. Today, the combination of on-site, remote, and mobile productivity is considered part of the new normal – but it also presents significant challenges for corporate cybersecurity teams.

With employees working from so many different locations, using multiple devices and methods of connectivity, managing and monitoring endpoints is a demanding job. And the task is further complicated by the status quo: as personal and professional lives overlap, the lines between home equipment and business equipment are being blurred.

In a recent survey, 46% of employees admitted using their corporate laptop for “life admin” – including online shopping and social media – and 30% said they had allowed someone else to use their work device.

Alongside these emerging trends in device use and misuse, there is substantial evidence that the cyberthreat landscape has been changed irrevocably – by the COVID-19 pandemic and by rapid digital transformation. As the world grappled with the first wave of coronavirus cases in early 2020, there was a 238% spike in cyberattack volume.

Threat actors took advantage of the sudden shift to home-based and remote productivity – and no industry was spared. Miners, manufacturersfinancial institutions, healthcare providers, retail outlets, non-profit organisations, and even schools and universities were targeted. Unsecured endpoints – from smartphones to printers – were often exploited during these cyberattacks.

According to the International Data Corporation, 70% of all successful network breaches begin on endpoint devices. To safeguard your enterprise network, you need to monitor every endpoint. You need to apply controls and restrictions. You need to identify anomalies. And you need to respond to threats as they occur. How does your endpoint security strategy measure up?

Are you managing vulnerabilities?

For comprehensive security, you have to be able to identify, assess, and remediate endpoint vulnerabilities and threats in real time. Loopholes and misconfigurations are weaknesses that cybercriminals will try to exploit.

Are you reducing the attack surface?

To minimise your exposure to cybercrime, you have to reduce your attack surface. With stringent controls for devices, applications, and folders, plus comprehensive defences against network intrusions and malware, you can lessen the risk to your resources.

Have you enabled endpoint detection and response?

When you’re proactive about threat hunting within your IT environment, you can harness the power of machine learning, big data, and advanced analytics to detect suspicious behaviours and malicious activities on endpoints – and remediate cyberthreats when they occur.

Have you automated investigation and remediation?

High volumes of security alerts and notifications can overwhelm corporate cybersecurity teams and delay their response times. Leverage the security tools at your disposal and apply decision-making algorithms to investigate and resolve security issues automatically, and at scale.

Continuous threat intelligence from endpoints is critical to help your security teams provide robust protection across your enterprise environment. With full endpoint visibility, you will be better positioned to eliminate potential penetration points, monitor emerging threats, and improve your overall security posture.

Get advanced security with Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint uses a combination of technologies built into Windows 10 and Microsoft’s cloud service to generate continuous threat intelligence.

Talk to our experts to learn more about Defender for Endpoint’s advanced threat protection, centralised management, and detailed reporting features.

Providing proactive strategies to enhance data security

We’re excited to announce that we’ve been awarded the Microsoft Information Protection and Governance Advanced Specialization in recognition of our elite capabilities in the deployment of Azure Information Protection and Microsoft Information Protection workloads, as well as our expertise in enhancing data security for customers.

The Information Protection and Governance Advanced Specialization is our ninth advanced specialization from Microsoft, and our fourth such premier accreditation in the security category, which includes Cloud SecurityIdentity and Access Management, and Threat Protection.

With the exponential growth of data, and increasing data mobility in modern workplaces around the world, more and more customers are looking for trusted partners to help them implement effective information-protection solutions, says Managing Director Ryan Roseveare.

“Data security and compliance are major concerns for business leaders,” explains Roseveare. “They need to manage their data properly, mitigate internal and external risks, and adhere to the rules and regulations that are applicable to their enterprises. They also need to be proactive at every turn, because the threat landscape is changing faster than ever.”

An era of data mobility

In recent years, privacy laws like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, California’s Privacy Rights Act, South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act, and Kenya’s Data Protection Act have put information management in the spotlight.

“Organisations are re-examining their practices in terms of data processing and data protection,” continues Roseveare. “Not only because of the legal requirements, but also because of the security risks associated with undiscovered, ungoverned data. IT experts with the deep technical knowledge and experience to guide customers through digital adoption, and enhance their information-protection solutions for this era of data mobility, are in global demand.”

To earn the Information Protection and Governance Advanced Specialization, BUI had to meet stringent criteria around service delivery and support, and pass a rigorous assessment of its security and governance technical practices. “Our teams are committed to advancing their skills and abilities, and this recognition from Microsoft is a welcome validation of our focus, our continuous investment in security, and our value-driven approach to customer relationships,” says Roseveare.

BUI, named Azure Infrastructure Partner of the Year and Security Partner of the Year at the 2021 Microsoft South Africa Partner Awards last month, is a Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Services Provider and a member of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association. “As cloud and security specialists, we’re delivering innovative data-protection solutions that enable customers to locate, classify, manage and secure their sensitive information wherever it lives, and wherever it travels. We look forward to new opportunities to help businesses govern and protect their data estates,” concludes Roseveare.

Keep your sensitive information safe and secure.

A comprehensive information protection and governance strategy can help you to safeguard business data, and identify internal and external risks.

Talk to our specialists about customised security solutions to keep your data secure on devices, within applications, and across on-prem and cloud environments.

Three ways to shore up your defences against phishing

From ransomware to SolarWinds, the cybersecurity space has been as hectic as ever over the past 12 months. However, for all of the emerging threats on the horizon, phishing – one of the oldest pain points in cybersecurity – continues to wreak havoc for enterprises around the world.

It’s often overlooked in terms of media hype, but phishing has been a mainstay in the cybersecurity threat landscape for decades. In fact, 43 percent of cyberattacks in 2020 featured phishing, while 74 percent of US organisations experienced a successful phishing attack last year alone. And globally, cybercriminals exploited public fears over the COVID-19 pandemic to find new phishing victims.

Phishing remains one of the most serious risks to an organisation’s cybersecurity health, but with proper anti-phishing hygiene and best practices in place, you can shore up your defences. Here are three simple tips to help you deal with phishing threats…

1 | Know how to spot the red flags

Phishing scammers are masters of making their content and interactions appealing. From content design to language, it can be difficult to discern whether content is genuine or a potential threat, which is why it’s crucial to look for the red flags.

Unusual formatting, overly explicit call-outs to click on a hyperlink or open an attachment, and subject lines that create a sense of urgency are all warning signs. Emails with these hallmarks should be treated with caution. And if you suspect a phishing attempt, contact your IT department immediately.

2 | Verify the source

Cybercriminals may impersonate someone you already know – such as a colleague, service provider or friend – as a way to trick you into believing that their malicious content is trustworthy. Don’t fall for it.

If an email is out of place, or unusual, reach out directly to the sender to confirm whether the content is authentic and safe. If not, break off communication immediately and flag the incident through the proper channels at your workplace.

3 | Be aware of vishing and other types of phishing

Threat actors have diversified their phishing efforts beyond traditional email. For example, voice phishing – or vishing – has become a primary alternative for scammers looking to gather sensitive information from unsuspecting individuals.

Similar to conventional phishing, vishing is typically executed by individuals posing as legitimate contacts – like healthcare providers or insurers – and asking for sensitive data. It’s imperative for individuals to be wary of any sort of communication that asks for personal information (via email, phone or chat), especially if the communication is unexpected. If anything seems suspicious, break off the interaction immediately and contact the company directly to confirm the authenticity of the communication.

Phishing may be “one of the oldest tricks in the book”, but it is still incredibly effective and increasingly widespread. By exercising caution and vigilance, and by deploying these few fundamentals, you can reduce your chances of falling victim to a phishing attack.

This article has been adapted from Cyber Security Awareness Month resources supplied by the event organisers, and is published here with permission. References include:

BUI is proud to be a 2021 Cyber Security Awareness Month Champion Organisation. Follow along on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter for more security tips throughout October!

Get end-to-end protection for your organisation.

Our Cyber SoC leverages state-of-the-art Microsoft Security technology – including Azure Sentinel – to continuously monitor connected environments.

With cloud-powered data processing, cyberthreats are detected, analysed, and managed in near real-time to provide comprehensive, end-to-end protection.