Resolute IT performs all of its consulting services on a 100% remote basis.

By covering all hardware under a support agreement through the device’s respective vendor, we have no reason to ever set foot inside your door. For example, the copier or multi-function printer is often covered under such an onsite maintenance plan. And Dell (or HP, Lenovo, Apple or Microsoft) have support plans for business and enterprise. Hard drives and operating systems are so much more resilient than in previous times, so support incidents are rare compared to years ago.

As the network has now been extended far beyond the walls of the office, specialized routers, switches, and unified threat management (UTM) devices are less prevalent and far less relevant. Productivity now takes place anywhere and at any time, while the security surface is now located at the managed end-point or document level by policy, not within the office perimeter as defined by tethered cabling.

Remote Control tools are abundant these days. Even Microsoft recognizes remote support services by virtue of its Remote Assistance feature built right into Windows 10.

As a result of this paradigm shift in the way that we can provide support, you have many more choices when deciding upon a consulting firm to manage your technology affairs. ‘The cloud’ means that we can now store documents and messages in a data center, as well as some applications are web-based or delivered via the web. But this also holds true for your support services – we use remote control software, automated remote monitoring and management tools, online support portals, cloud-to-cloud backup services, and of course, chat and voice through conventional means (phone and email), as well as through Microsoft Teams – we now establish a Teams team for ongoing chat, voice and video call support within every client’s Office 365 tenant.

So rather than leaning over your shoulder in your Clearwater office, we can all remain in our comfort zones while receiving help and sitting in front of our own device screens within our internet-connected world.

 

Managed ServicesMy first experience with a computer was when I was a building contractor in Connecticut around 1990. The Department of Consumer Protection had mandated that all construction contracts, large and small, contain specifically prescribed content provided by the state, which resulted in a 6-page document, at the least. To remedy the situation, I went out and purchased a DOS computer and a word processor program. I took the computer out of the box and didn’t move until about 4am. When I finally made it into bed and shut the lights, there were two big blue dots (one for each eye) where the monitor had been. I was infatuated.

My career in construction evolved from building to selling real estate. Of course, real estate meant more contracts and eventually a digital MLS system – I found myself immersed in a world of computers again. I always helped the other agents that didn’t ‘get it’ when it came to the computers, so they all said, “Scott, you should become a computer guy!” The rest is history.

In 1998, I went back to school. From seemingly unrelated courses, I created my own curriculum at a community college to study and then pass a new certification offered by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). I was among the first to receive the A+ Certification, and my designation is grandfathered and honored to this day.

CompTIA A+ Certified

My first job in the computer-related field was at the 2000 US Census during 1999, of course. My job was to sit at my desk and wait until Friday to change the server backup tapes and then ship the tapes from Cape Cod to Boston by FedEx. I needed more of a challenge – I was bored to death, so I left and went into business for myself.

pleasantbay.NET was the name of the company I launched on January 1st, 2000, the day after the Y2K bug was supposed to end the world. I was doing a lot of web design back then and formed a group called Cape Web Weavers, which eventually merged with the Cape Cod eCommerce Society. Meanwhile, I was volunteering for three Unitarian Universalist churches on Cape Cod, maintaining their computers and training those in need. My reputation got around, parishioners hired me, and the money started flowing.

By 2002, I’d become involved with a local company that primarily performed computer network services for small businesses, specializing in Novell servers and networks. The owner was having health issues and was in the process of retiring, so I was there to learn, substitute, and eventually take over some of his small accounts before he sold the remaining business to a competitor of ours.

I moved into my first office space in 2003. Another member of that web design group I’d formed had leased too much commercial space just for himself, so we split it. Within six months, I’d outgrown his half-office space and moved into another unit in the same commercial complex with 750 square feet all to myself – and my new technician.

First Office

In late 2004, we purchased 250 licenses of Kaseya, the Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tool. Kaseya remains today to be one of the most highly respected technologies in the managed services arena. But Kaseya created a problem – not a technical problem, but a business problem. I’d installed the Kaseya software agent on all of our clients’ computers and servers. And it was configured to automatically remediate problems when failures were detected or updates were required, so all of a sudden the phone stopped ringing!

I was able to regroup and put everyone onto monthly Managed Services Provider (MSP) contracts in early 2005 after setting the business up with ConnectWise, the Professional Service Automation (PSA) tool. One of my clients was a semi-retired law professor who felt indebted to me for the good work we’d done for him on his systems, so he put together a legal document for me that went on to become the boilerplate contract for many emerging MSPs during the mid-2000s.

But there was one client that was reluctant to sign on. “Nah,” he said. “Everything works, so I’ll call when I need you.” Of course, everything worked because I’d put Kaseya onto all his machines. But one day, Kaseya sent us an alarm that the single hard drive in his company’s server was about to fail. To make a long story short, the baby died in our arms. We backed up the data (there was no previous backup!) and then the drive kicked over dead. Whew… The workers were able to resume on Monday morning as if nothing had ever happened. After learning what had transpired over the weekend, the client paid the hefty emergency repair costs and subscribed to an ongoing and proactive contract.

Managed services became popular around 2005. In fact, I was on Wikipedia reading about managed services and recognized many of the other pioneers cited in the article, such as Karl Palachuk, Amy Luby and Erick Simpson. I met them all and even bought Karl’s first book about documenting a network for $20.

During this time period, I was attending conferences almost every other month: Intel Roadshows; Microsoft Partner product events and hands-on-labs; ASCII Group Success Summits; Harry Brelsford’s SMB Nation; and the very first ConnectWise Summit that’s now called IT Nation, the premier event in our industry.

After that first ConnectWise shindig, a group of us from the northeastern US formed a peer group called the “New England ConnectWise Users Group” (NECWUG). All of those guys went on to become very successful MSPs and sold their businesses for a handsome price each. I’m proud to say that I was among them at one time.

In 2008, I retired my on-premise servers and moved to the cloud. I also moved to the Caribbean. And then I moved to Sarasota in 2009. Now I’ve become established in the Clearwater St Petersburg area. So working remotely became the norm for me, especially as my Cape Cod flock needed to be tended. They’ve been a loyal bunch and I still service several with annual contracts today.

As much as I’d like to say that we’ve transitioned from MSP to CSP (Cloud Services Provider), I would quote Karl Palachuk who said, “There are still going to be wires in the walls.” True to a point, but the most innovative modern workplaces of today are filled with beanbag chairs, millennials, sofas and wireless Internet. So yes, there are stand-up desks and kiosks and shared co-working spaces, but the network remains. And there’s an enormous mass-migration ahead from traditional on-premise servers, workstations and cubicles to the massive disorder of the mobile world. Migration to the cloud is a present-day exodus. Microsoft now has over 120 million monthly subscribers to Office 365 and this trend is growing exponentially. The servers that were formerly housed in our offices are finding new homes in data centers. And the Windows Server Active Directory that was required to authenticate users within the confines of the workplace has now moved to the Microsoft Azure cloud – Azure Active Directory – to provide the same identity protection anywhere a user opens a file or accesses other company data.

And with this paradigm shift comes innovation from the old vendors, such as Microsoft and Intel. We have Microsoft Teams for anywhere-teamwork and instant collaboration using featherweight laptops powered by Intel chips that have evolved according to Moore’s Law, that is, doubling in power every two years and shrinking in such size that confounds the mind.

And we are still human. Even some computer-weaned millennials are challenged by the latest technology, getting locked out of their social media accounts with multi-step authentication and clicking on anything fearlessly, only to find themselves victim to ransomware. There is still a reason to be called a Managed Services Provider – we still have to protect the data, the privacy and the security of people while enabling them with the technology to remain productive and innovative in their own right.

Scott Abbotts | https://resolute-it.com | https://office365techguy.com

Clearwater | St Petersburg | Tampa | Sarasota | Bradenton | Pinellas Park | Largo | Dunedin | Remote

“On August 17, 1908, the new Bank of Italy (now Bank of America) Headquarters at 552 Montgomery Street (San Francisco) was opened to the public. Here, on the first floor in an open area, A.P. Giannini had his office where all comers were invited to stop and chat about not only financial but family matters as well.” – US Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places.

In this same spirit, I kept my desk near the door when I had an office on Cape Cod. I can’t tell you how rewarding it was to have a steady stream of people dropping in to sit down and chat with me.

And now that I work solely as a remote consultant, I am opening a client-facing portal on an always-open basis in Microsoft Teams.

As Microsoft announced the free offering of Microsoft Teams yesterday, I feel that people are now unencumbered for the lack of this tool – Teams is free to download for desktop and mobile, and very simple to create an account in a matter of seconds.

To become a member of the Resolute IT Client Portal, sign up here.

A recent study predicts that 42% of the global workforce will be mobile by 2020. I wonder if we aren’t already there.. Another finding says that the number will be 75% by 2025.

Who really wants to get up, get ready, and walk into an office by 9am or earlier? We can easily attend a 10am office meeting using Microsoft Teams, so we can remain at home or in a coffee shop using a laptop, tablet or even a phone to share our presence, our Office documents, and our enthusiasm with colleagues. And of course, we don’t even have to be in the same country as the other attendees. 

While in the meeting, we can easily share the document that we’d been creating over the weekend. Teams allows you to present your original document for others to view within the Teams interface and co-author or co-edit it there. While collaborating on this document, team members can exchange chat messages alongside the open document. Or better yet, collaborating members can start an impromptu video meeting, while other members of the team can join the meeting and participate by co-authoring the document. You can even record the meeting for later review.

So the future is here. Where you are is irrelevant. But how you’re able to interact is key.

In its July 2018 roundup   of Microsoft Teams news, they announced a new feature that I dismissed at first. “Visio in Teams”, I thought. “So what – it’s just read-only with Visio Online.” But this is *not* Visio Online. Or is it?

At the bottom of this article it says, “Viewing diagrams within Teams is free for most Office 365 customers  , but editing is only available for those with a Visio Online Plan 1 or Plan 2 subscription.”

I’ve searched through the articles for ‘co-authoring’, but all it says is “Team members can work together on diagrams through in-app conversations to provide feedback in real time.” But can we edit the same diagram with another member in real time? One article compares the new editing feature to other Office co-authoring capabilities within Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. “We’ve extended these editing capabilities to Visio files, enabling you to make simple changes to your diagrams without leaving the Teams app.

So does this mean we can also co-author as we would in Word? I think not. Oh, but wait…

On one page of Microsoft’s website it says, “Real-time co-authoring – Not available in Visio Online. Advanced reviewer features, such as merge conflicts and compare diagrams, are only available in the Visio desktop application. With Visio Online, you can view, add, or delete comments.”

But on the features page for Visio Online 2 (not Visio Online 1) it says, “Complete diagrams faster with multiple people working on the same diagram at the same time.”

And in order for members to see any changes, they have to refresh the diagram in Teams.

In order to perform with full functionality, we are advised to use the desktop version of Visio. For ‘almost desktop’ functionality, we can subscribe to Visio Online 2.

Update 07/07/2018: Direct from Microsoft: “At this point in time Visio Online does not support co-authoring inside Teams, irrespective of the license. But this is part of our roadmap and we are working to enable this in future.”

In the May 2018 results at the security lab of AV Comparatives , Microsoft Windows Defender Antivirus performed very well. Often seen as a mediocre solution over the years, Microsoft’s solution is stepping to the plate.

But it isn’t just one solution. Microsoft’s answer has to be seen as a holistic approach as it integrates with Office 365 and its other defense layers as the company depicts here:

Physical security

  • 24-hour monitoring of datacenters.
  • Multi-factor authentication, including biometric scanning for datacenter access.
  • Internal datacenter network is segregated from the external network.
  • Role separation renders location of specific customer data unintelligible to the personnel that have physical access.
  • Faulty drives and hardware are demagnetized and destroyed.

Logical security

  • Lockbox processes  for a strictly supervised escalation process greatly limit human access to your data. Learn how to activate Lockbox .
  • Servers run only processes that are whitelisted, minimizing risk from malicious code.
  • Dedicated threat management teams proactively anticipate, prevent, and mitigate malicious access.
  • Port scanning, perimeter vulnerability scanning, and intrusion detection prevent or detect any malicious access.

Data security

  • Encryption at rest protects your data on our servers.
  • Encryption in transit with SSL/TLS protects your data when it’s transmitted between you and Microsoft.
  • Threat management , security monitoring, and file/data integrity prevent or detect any tampering of data.
  • Exchange Online Protection  provides advanced security and reliability against spam and malware to help protect your information and access to email.

User controls

  • Office 365 Message Encryption  allows users to send encrypted email to anyone, whatever email service recipients may use.
  • Data loss prevention can be combined with Rights Management and Office 365 Message Encryption to give greater controls to your admins to apply appropriate policies to protect sensitive data.
  • S/MIME provides message security with certificate-based email access.
  • Azure Rights Management  prevents file-level access without the right user credentials.

Admin controls

Tab panel for expanded tab number5

  • Multi-factor authentication protects access to the service with a second factor such as phone.
  • Data loss prevention prevents sensitive data from leaking either inside or outside the organization while providing user education and empowerment.
  • Built-in mobile device management capabilities allow you to manage access to corporate data.
  • Mobile application management within Office mobile apps powered by Intune provides granular controls to secure data contained in these apps.
  • Built in antivirus and antispam protection along with advanced threat protection safeguard against external threats.
  • Office 365 Cloud App Security provides enhanced visibility and control into your Office 365 environment.

 

The last article that I wrote was about the Microsoft Office 365 terminology change from “Preservation” to “Retention” in regard to how your data is held – or not – within Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive.

But when you want to hold your Microsoft Teams data with a retention policy, that policy must be exclusive to Teams – no other service can be part of that policy.

Teams holds its chats, conversations and emails forever by default, but your company might have another inclination to delete data, save it for 7-10 years, or both for whatever reason. Policies can be created and applied in a granular fashion.

Microsoft unveiled its new Teams Retention policies at the end of March 2018 and rolled them out to tenants over the month of April. This is evidently part of the move to bring Skype functionality into the Teams fold.

The next step on the roadmap for Teams data management is eDiscovery.

Scott Abbotts | https://resolute-it.com | https://office365techguy.com

 

What used to be called a Preservation Policy is now called a Retention Policy. That said, you might still see a folder in your OneDrive’s storage metrics* that’s called Preservation Hold Library, although the folder isn’t visible unless you’ve actually edited or deleted items that are affected under such a policy.

Your ‘permanently deleted’ mailbox items are held in the Recoverable Items folder, which is accessible from the Outlook Web App (OWA). Right-click on the Deleted Items folder and choose “Recover deleted items…” These are items that you’ve removed from the Deleted Items folder and will remain in the Recoverable Items folder for 14 days unless otherwise configured to 30 days by your system administrator OR unless there’s a Retention Policy in place that prevents anything from getting really, actually, truly, permanently deleted.

A caveat here: Retention policies applied to mailboxes require Office 365 Enterprise E3 or E5. This is because Exchange Online Plan 2 must be in place for mailbox retention. So if you have Office 365 Business Premium with its lesser Exchange Online Plan 1, then you can set a Retention Policy that covers your documents stored in SharePoint or OneDrive, but not on mail, calendar or contact items. Actually, you might be able to create such a policy that would seem to cover your Exchange items, but this data governance would not take effect until a qualified license would be put in place.

About Teams from Microsoft:

* To see your OneDrive metrics, go to portal.office.com, login, and then launch the OneDrive web app. In the upper right, click on the gear icon and choose Site Settings. On the Site Settings page under Site Collection Administration, choose Storage Metrics.

Scott Abbotts | https://resolute-it.com | https://office365techguy.com

MICROSOFT OFFICE 365

MIGRATION. CONFIGURATION. TRAINING. SUPPORT. SECURITY. BACKUP. ADMINISTRATION. 

Resolute IT is a Microsoft certified consulting firm with a focus on Office 365 cloud-computing — configuration, maintenance, cloud backup, helpdesk support, and training, as well as overall managed IT services. 

A critical step to the cloud is the transfer or migration of your documents and email data (messages, calendars, and contacts) from your current file server and/or email server. If this isn’t already accomplished, then our migration services will ensure an accurate and complete transfer.

Ongoing helpdesk provides immediate access to our expertise, whether as an emergency response (24/7), scheduled training, or backend support, such as in the case of new accounts or password resets.

For businesses with five or more end-users, we offer customized IT managed services plans as a more proactive approach to keep your systems always available. HelpDesk included.

Certified by CompTIA in 1999 with their A+ exams and again by Microsoft in 2007 as a Small Business Specialist.

Tampa | St Petersburg | Clearwater | Sarasota | Bradenton | Remote Support

Microsoft Office 365 Tech Support & HelpDesk

(727) 300-4940

Schedule Free 30-Minute Consult

 

 

FREE OFFICE 365 ADOPTION & SUCCESS GUIDES

  

 

 

A Different Approach

Office 365 consulting is our primary offering, but helping people with their small businesses is our passion. As Office 365 is a cloud-based platform, we can perform 100% of these cloud functions on a remote basis.

Just like a general contractor in the building trade, we hire sub-contractors for specific tasks and in required locations. These are US-based, but internationally-respected professionals (MVP’s).

office 365

Ease and Assurance

Business continuity is a mutual objective – we are partners with a common goal: You want to remain operational and therefore profitable, while Resolute IT profits by avoiding unexpected and untimely workloads using proactive measures.

Above peace of mind, Resolute IT includes ongoing training and support with all support packages, enabling your workers while cultivating a competitive company advantage.

Included within these IT support packages is our cloud-to-cloud backup systems with lightening fast recovery of lost, damaged, deleted, or maliciously encrypted files.

Microsoft Office 365 Migration

 Renovation

Whether you need to start from scratch or enhance your current systems, we can work together on a plan.

Productivity

Productivity

Keeping you and your employees up and running with your technology systems is an ongoing process.

Mobility

Mobility

Catering to the needs of today’s workers means business happens everywhere and anywhere. 

Analytics and Reporting

Analytics

Knowing the effect your technology investment has on your bottom line is critical to the health of your business. 

PLAN and COMMUNICATE

 

 


It all starts with an earnest plan by assessing your assets, then accounts configuration, and then migration of data.

Microsoft Teams
One way that our in-house support team provides ongoing training is by remote assistance within Microsoft Teams.