by Leona Fink | Dec 17, 2020 | Cloud Technology, Microsoft
Cloud Compliance and Cloud Security – these are heavy, but important, topics when considering a transition. In this article, we aim to explain the difference and why you need to be covered in both areas. As a Microsoft Partner, Prone 2 Dream Technologies can assist in setting you up for success right from the start.
No matter what size your business is, from solopreneur to enterprise level, transitioning into the Microsoft cloud provides a wealth of benefits. When it comes to cloud compliance and security, there is no better ally than Microsoft. Their layers of protection, the tracking mechanisms, the investigative abilities, AND an assurance of risk mitigation in the event of data breach is a guarantee like no other.
If you are in Healthcare for instance, Microsoft will sign a BAA (Business Associate Agreement) with you. It is their brand promise of security infrastructure. It is their guarantee that should your company come under legal scrutiny, that they will produce the documentation and the forensic evidence to show how the breach happened, when and with whom. This legal guarantee is an insurance policy that saves organizations millions of dollars.
The Microsoft Compliance Manager
Most businesses fall into some governmental regulatory area where they must comply with industry-specific federal laws. Healthcare must comply with HIPAA laws to protect patient data. PCI laws protect credit card data. FedRamp governs financial markets. And many more.
A cloud compliance management program needs to attest that you are compliant with applicable laws so you can gain the trust of your clients and industry colleagues. At any given time, your company must be able to download an audit or assessment that is documentation of your compliance, should any questions arise.
The Microsoft compliance manager is a very robust system. While it can look overwhelming at first, it is a user-friendly, collaborative effort. Microsoft asks for the needed input, essentially walking the user step by step through the set up. The system tells you your progress each step of the way. As the data is transferred into the cloud compliance manager, the responsibility is shifting to the shoulders of Microsoft. This is the trust center – your data under the layers of protection promised by Microsoft, to which you have access at your fingertips.
Microsoft also offers hybrid situations, as some migrations simply need to be stretched over time. For example, you may be running a client server software using Windows Operating Systems. The transition to the cloud would need to run simultaneously with the on-premise server. Using virtual machines (VMs), we can bring a client server dependent architecture into the cloud. Putting the client server on the VM frees it from the on-premise IT closet. This is a very seamless way to run client server software in the cloud, while reducing your total cost of ownership. You don’t need to purchase new hardware when it’s time for an update.
The Trend Toward BYOD – Doesn’t that increase risk?
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a strategy being deployed more and more often as technology advances. This strategy, too, benefits your company by reducing the total cost of ownership – in this case the expense of desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices. The old way – companies use their purchased devices until they finally die. Have you ever onboarded to a new company, only to be offered a 10-year-old laptop? Think about your brand – this is not the Day 1 “first impression” you want to make on a new hire!
Consider instead: The new hire is offered a cash bonus at signing, about half the cost of a new device, to be used to purchase the new device of their choosing. The employee pays the balance of the purchase and the ownership is theirs for the tenure of their employ and afterward. With Microsoft cloud technology, all company data on that device is being tagged and tracked. If any company data is downloaded off the device, your business will be alerted when that is happening. However, if you’re using an on-premise server, and your employees are using their personal devices for work, data leaks may be going on now with no audit trail.
If you are in the Microsoft cloud and the employee leaves the company, it is no problem at all. Microsoft simply wipes the company’s partition off the device (“Selective Wipe”) all of the company data is eliminated or rendered “unusable”. Not so simple if you’re using an on-premise server.
The Security Center (Admin Center)
The cloud Security Center is completely different than the cloud compliance manager. This is the area that watches over threat management.
> Who’s attacking my company?
> What are they phishing?
> Who are they phishing?
> Where is this coming from?
> What do I need to do to keep from being attacked?
Your Microsoft Security Center is on high alert for this type of threat, fending it off, and tracking it for you to see at any time.
How Prone 2 Dream Technologies helps
As a Microsoft Partner, Prone 2 Dream is your bridge to Microsoft cloud compliance and security. Our role is to demonstrate that Microsoft is taking care of everything – securing your data and making it available only to your company constituents, as you direct. We want you and your team to feel the confidence and trust in Microsoft.
We can explain Microsoft’s complex infrastructure and how your company has its own private, yet powerful, space within. Contact us today for a complimentary assessment of your current system and how to transition smoothly to the cloud.
by Leona Fink | Dec 9, 2020 | Cloud Technology, Microsoft
The short answer to that question is – YOU
The real question may be “Do I have full control of my data with on-premise servers?”
If you are still in the IT closet, managed by an expert IT team, trust me when I say that at every security patch, they are praying that on the restart, the system doesn’t fail. If it fails, your dependent client/server software stops cold, your intangible assets vaporize, and your handy disaster recovery plan kicks into high gear (where technology meets religion). Tick Tock….
Cloud technology lays those risks to rest. In our last article, we talked about several benefits of transitioning your company to the cloud.
Here’s a significant benefit to add to that list: Redundancy.
What that means is that throughout multiple data centers, in different geospheres, Microsoft is hosting your company’s environment in a redundant architecture. This involves deploying multiple instances of a service on geographically and physically separate hardware. The “Microsoft Cloud” delivers high availability, with built in resiliency and redundancy. Their engineers start with the assumption that the underlying infrastructure will fail at some point.
Built in resiliency and redundancy
Here’s an example: Microsoft is storing your digital assets (data) in a primary data center in California, and during a natural disaster such as a major wildfire, that data center burns down. As that center goes offline, the secondary center, perhaps in Utah, continues running. You, the client, have lost no communication or data at all. This switch is so seamless, you may not even realize that it happened. This is resiliency. Your subscription, along with thousands of others, pays for these expert teams to protect your data.
Imagine the peace of mind of walking out of your office and knowing your intangible assets are safe and that all your work will continue on time tomorrow, even if your IT closet catches on fire. Not only for you, but for your thousands of employees.
Coming out of the (IT) closet
During the past few years, transitioning to the cloud has gained considerable momentum – more and more companies are realizing that the sheer size of their operation dictates the need for better control over their enterprise. With hundreds or thousands of employees logging in to do their work in today’s world, downtime is simply not an option.
In the last article, we talked about how transitioning to the cloud lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO) of IT. The cyclical money pit: Keeping an on–premise server means capital allocations for required upgrades, new servers, faster switching…this investment runs in the $10’s of thousands per server. Additionally, firewalls, switches, routers, and other security appliances that manage your security face a similar 5yr life expectancy. So, what now? You’re 2.5yrs into the term on your latest upgrade….
Time to consider the cloud approach – a monthly subscription, pay as you go. Start with a hybrid architecture and step out your adoption strategy with your team. Allow Microsoft to bear the expense of all the hardware and extras. When you understand how the cloud works, it makes more sense to migrate than to hold onto your in-house IT closet.
Safer than storing your data on-premise
Secure data means you control your own data
What Microsoft has created throughout its complex cloud is a trust center. Layers of security, redundancy, synchronicity. They’re in the business of providing security assurances, so that you don’t have to worry about your data. It’s available to you on-demand, memorialized, catalogued, tracked.
How does a “data leak” happen? The truth is – data leaks are primarily “inside jobs”, where someone from inside your company decides to take proprietary intellectual property from your network. This may happen whether or not you’re in the cloud. However, in the cloud, all that activity can be tracked. You’re covered if a risk incident occurs – background AI auditing is not only able to notify you of the incident, but also able to figure out what, how, when, and by whom. Risk mitigation is built-in to your cloud environment, and when properly setup, incident tracking is easy.
Fully HIPAA Compliant
Is the cloud HIPAA compliant?
Microsoft is heavily invested in insuring trust for your regulatory compliance. Whether it is HIPAA, FedRAMP, PCI or other compliance standard, you can trust that Microsoft has assembled an expert team around the environment to ensure your data is protected on their side.
Settings for your corporate policies for information governance, archive, and data retention are available in the compliance center – all these regulatory policies are detailed with implementation dates, test dates and notes. This is an important testament to your compliance incentives in the case of an audit. The compliance manager is interactive and user-friendly with targeted guidance while scoring your setup effectiveness, with resolution recommendations, assisting you with closing the compliance loop for your organization Again, you have full control as you build your compliance on top of Microsoft’s impeccable compliance measures.
Your Microsoft Partner
Where does Prone 2 Dream Technologies fit in?
As a Microsoft partner, we provide cloud migration services including compliance manager set up. Whether you are looking to move into the cloud for the first time or would like an assessment of your current tenant, we have the experience to guide your team. Contact us today for your complimentary consultation: Call 469-294-5233 or email ContactUs@prone2dream.com
by Leona Fink | Dec 1, 2020 | Cloud Technology, Microsoft
It’s a common misconception that having your Office 365 in the cloud means your productivity tools can only be used online. This is a myth – you can still use MSOffice365 in the traditional, offline manner that you are accustomed to, and the benefits of moving to the cloud are mounting.
Cloud communications became invaluable when the pandemic hit, reinforcing the prevailing notion that the cloud is a future aspiration—it’s an urgent mandate at the core of every business.
5 Benefits of Office 365 in the Cloud
Bring IT Expense $$ Back To The Bottom Line
#1 Lower the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Without a doubt, the most significant benefit of moving MS Office 365 to the cloud is in reducing TCO. Not having to buy, support, upgrade, and replace hardware is a huge savings. The cloud “pay as you go” cuts capital expense cost for server replacement.
And when taking this responsibility off the plate of your IT team, you’re giving those individuals the ability to focus on new innovations.
Additionally, many companies have already made the leap to the Microsoft cloud, and become perplexed at the expense because they don’t understand their tenant licensing.
Consider this scenario – one of our clients had made the move to the cloud. During our cost savings audit we noticed that all users were lumped into the same license, which is unnecessary. The C-Suite needed the downloadable productivity license, but many of the other constituents would be served very well with the online only license. This audit and later license change shifted $96,000 back to our client’s bottom line in the first year!
Layers of Protection
With Office 365 in the cloud, Active Directory credentials control access, and from the portal, users can access email, contacts, and calendars, and create and edit documents online—anytime and from anywhere, on any device.
O365 has built-in, award-winning security, backed by Microsoft’s experts, and built with extra layers, such as data loss prevention, multi-factor authentication, advanced threat protection, Safe Links, and log-in auditing to name a few. So, now imagine cutting all the security software you are running to keep your on–premise servers compliant.
Installation is also extremely easy. To install Office 365 PC’s, the user simply logs into the Office.com portal, clicks “Install Office Apps,” and selects Office from the list. This supplies instant access to all the organization’s shared content and files. From the same portal and tab, the user can also send an installation link to phones and tablets as an email or text message. One click, and all Office applications download and allow access to all emails, shared content, and files from work. It’s that easy.
Everything Under One Umbrella
#3 Improved Office Productivity and Collaboration
Perhaps the most valuable benefit Office 365 in the cloud offers to everyone on your team is real time collaboration. Microsoft productivity applications make it easy to share documents internally and externally. Co-Collaboration ROCKS! Multiple users can work simultaneously on documents live while viewing their colleague’s edits – sharing comments, offering feedback, and having real time Q&A discussions.
Colleagues can conduct productive meetings regardless of their locations – through MS Teams, a feature of the O365 suite. Teams holds a plethora of benefits for working in the cloud – video conferencing, project management, data storage, contained VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone system and more. Read more about Microsoft Teams here.
OneDrive offers secure data storage of all your files in the cloud and you can keep the same organization system you used on your physical servers. Microsoft’s layers of security keep your files safe.
SharePoint gives you the ability to host you own company intranet site. Companies find this feature invaluable to share resources amongst their divisions, while privately sharing sensitive projects. SharePoint offers infinite possibilities for connecting groups within your organization.
Smart Seamless Updates
#4 Automatic Updates
With O365, pushing out software updates is a thing of the past. Updates no longer need to be installed in each machine. All Office 365 updates are automatically downloaded and installed, just like Windows updates. All applications stay current without intervention.
An evaluation of your tenant environment will reveal any gaps
#5 Microsoft Partner Assessment
Contact Prone2DreamTechnologies, a Microsoft Partner, for a complimentary audit of your systems. Whether you are looking to move into the cloud for the first time or would like an assessment of your tenant, we have the experience to guide your team to savings. O365 is an essential force in today’s world. Contact us today for your complimentary consultation – Call 469-294-5233 or Email ContactUs@prone2dream.com
by Leona Fink | Nov 16, 2020 | Business, Microsoft, Skilled Nursing Industry
How many software applications does it take to run your company?
You depend on each of these programs to perform at their highest level, and subsequently rely on the developers to continually upgrade their product. Upgrades have to be seamless and user-friendly so that your teams (the users) don’t skip a beat.
Periodically, a major systems upgrade is necessary within your own company. You may have decided a different EHR will better serve you. Or perhaps it’s a financial system that’s become outdated. Plus, you need your various software programs to be integrated … in a way that benefits your unique needs.
Making a decision about a major systems update is exciting! But thinking about how to pull it off can send you quickly into a state of overwhelm:
- Where do we start?
- How long will it take?
- How will we accomplish the project?
- How will we find the right experts to enlist?
- Is it worth the disruption?
Let’s take a look at how to make it happen…
What does a major systems update look like?
Here’s the best news about taking on a major systems update: If you have not yet transitioned to cloud technology, now is the time! All the software programs you use are cloud-based, and by transitioning away from traditional hardware systems, you lower your total cost of ownership.
The purpose of deploying a major systems update goes beyond needing to update one or two of the programs you’re currently using. You’ll be integrating ALL your existing systems and programs, feeding them into your financial book of record.
Integration is the coding of the subsidiary ledgers to bring that data to the right general ledger line. The EHR is one of the largest subsidiary ledgers (census, payers). Your update migrates health information records by cross-mapping – integrating the clinical data with the financial data.
First steps – Creating the Topography
Setting up the general ledger codes initiates your system. This is the topography of your system update as your financial book of record is the anchor. All subsidiary ledgers have to feed into the book of record. Your topography is the backbone or what’s known as the System Standup.
The topography is a structural technological document that shows how the systems will talk to each other. This becomes a template for all units. As you expand to add any new skilled nursing facilities, they will conform to this template. The goal is that all the software systems join into the topography in the same way, across multiple locations.
Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery Plan
Continuity planning is the roadmap for setting the system up to work in integration with the subsidiary ledgers. When each relevant software is speaking to each other, you’re able to better track your financials, submit better reports to stakeholders, CMS, and other authorities, have successful audits, and ultimately, have the confidence that your numbers are accurate.
Within every successful topography, you’ll need a formal structure of how to recover if/when something inevitably goes awry. Planning ahead for unforeseen events will keep the disruption to a minimum.
Setting up migration teams for success
Then the work really begins. Once the topography is finalized, you need the humans who will write the upload utilities for data migration, database management, and all connectivity. This takes teams of experienced data managers, and many of your software providers will supply this support. They can migrate their program into your topography, but you will want integration experts to connect various programs together.
Expanding and utilizing your existing technology
Is your company currently using Microsoft365? It’s a huge, powerful product that almost all companies all buy, but then only use the basic features. In reality, Microsoft 365 has the ability to provide the platform for the integrations. You may have been reading about all the ways Microsoft is entering the healthcare industry and empowering their users.
How we help with a major system update
A major systems change is exciting! But we know how much work is involved.
We understand and have written successful topography, continuity planning, and connectivity systems. We have extensive experience in data migration and database management. We onboard your teams and provide ongoing training for their success.
Prone 2 Dream Technologies has been a Microsoft partner since 2016. MS wants the end user to be empowered, not restricted. That’s where P2D comes in – we’ve seen the underutilization of MS365 and want to show our clients how to maximize that investment.
Thinking about a major systems update? Call us for a complimentary consultation today.
by Sue Barham | Apr 3, 2020 | Microsoft, Microsoft Teams
When we turned the corner into 2020, did you have any idea that within 90 days, you’d be operating with a large part of your team (if not all of them) working from home?
And now that this is the New Normal, how are you faring?
Does your organization feel secure? How is data being stored and shared?
What about project assets? Do you have documented trails of conversations?
Are all the right players involved in the right meetings? And if you’re video conferencing, are those channels secure?
There are so many critical questions to find solutions for, because the coronavirus climate is going to be around for a while.
The Good News
If the Microsoft Office 365 suite is part of your operating system, there is really great news. In addition to the standard Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint tools, you also have access to Microsoft Teams.
Teams is the perfect platform for your agile workforce – this cloud-based technology enables groups within your enterprise to collaborate, communicate, and memorialize all aspects of their project(s) in one secure place.
Teams is Microsoft Powered – The source on which you rely for credibility, security, innovation, and data-driven excellence.
Teams has seen significant growth over the last year, with Microsoft announcing the app had exploded in popularity from 20 million business users in November to 44 million in April. Part of that bump, about 12 million users, joined the service between March 11 and March 18 as more people around the world began working from home due to coronavirus lockdowns. (Yahoo Finance, 3/30/2020)
Video conference within Microsoft Teams
Want Teams now? Prone 2 Dream Technologies has been a Microsoft partner since 2006. We can have you up and running this platform fast and will provide training for seamless integration. Contact Us.
What exactly is Teams?
Teams is a hub for teamwork.
Pull together different teams for different ideas. Then create the teams for the projects that will transform those ideas into realities.
Your teams work together in the cloud, communicating by chat instead of email and using channels for all relevant files and folders.
It’s a workspace for editing documents simultaneously, with single tap replies, likes, and mentions.
A team can customize their project with websites, notes, and apps.
The result – Teams is fun – and having fun inspires creativity, productivity, and a winning team culture.
12 Benefits of Using Teams
- Video and audio conferencing and recording. There are other platforms that provide these services, but wouldn’t you rather hold these meetings within your own secure environment?
- Fully secured business platform with private hosting (and HIPAA compliant for Healthcare companies). Teams enables you to transition to a cloud-based infrastructure, lowering the total cost of ownership of your IT and management solutions.
- Quarterly compliance documentation. Easily store, submit, review critical reports.
- Virtually brings people around ideas. The ability to assemble the right people to brainstorm, document, collaborate and plan, no matter where they’re located.
- Memorialization of instant messages. Chat individually or within a specific group, saving ideas and comments.
- Inline conversations and dedicated group email. Each project communication goes to the right people and is saved in the right spot.
- Simultaneous document authoring and version control. An easy way to collaborate on written communications.
- Enables unlimited projects ongoing within your environment. And all project assets are securely stored within this workspace.
- Ability to include external contributors. Need to invite a client, vendor, potential hire to a meeting within your secure workspace? No problem.
- Reduces costly travel expenses. So much work can be achieved in Teams, you’ll find less traveling is needed.
- Lowers your total cost of IT ownership through its virtual, cloud-based platform. Teams integrates with most popular business apps.
- Simple set-up and easy for your team to learn.
You can’t afford to wait
You may be wondering “How can I possibly implement a new system or process right now? I have so much on my plate!” But you can’t afford to wait if you know or even suspect that important business assets are slipping through the cracks.
Get set up now on Teams and emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a future-focused, location-neutral platform for your business infrastructure.
Prone 2 Dream Technologies is your bridge to Microsoft Teams. Prone 2 Dream has been a Microsoft partner since 2006, providing secure enterprise solutions to the healthcare and hospitality industries.
We would welcome the opportunity to show you how Teams creates a hub for teamwork, enabling your remote and on-site workforce to stay connected and engaged. P2D can set you up quickly and virtually train your team.
Contact us today for a demonstration.