It’s often insightful to look back in order to look forward. As 2017 has faded, I’ve reviewed what happened with our business last year to make forecasts about 2018. Our business has always been driven by the needs of our customers, and 2017 was no exception. In no particular order, here are 8 areas/ways we helped customers last year:
- Prepared and deployed Windows 10 using refreshed System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Our customers have solicited our help in refreshing their SCCM technology, which morphed to a rapid release cycle. Customer goals seemed split between SCCM feature/function as well as preparation of Windows 10 desktop images (task sequences). Amazingly, we were part of over 20,000 desktop moves to Windows 10 in 2017!
- Unlocked value in Office 365 investments. Our clients had typically made purchases of Office 365 E3 and found initial value in simply moving email workloads to Exchange Online. In 2017, they wanted more. Our webinars and blogs about Untapped Features of O365 demonstrated that there is high value in other areas including: Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint and others.
- Deployed turnkey solutions to streamline operations such as HRPortal using SharePoint Online. Customers perk up when you can improve inefficient processes. Combine that with underutilized but owned SharePoint licensing (from O365 investment above), they jumped at the chance to see HRPortal. After all, organizations commonly share a need to provide employees an organizational calendar, forms, announcements while also streamlining employee onboarding, evaluations, and time-off requests.
- Secured their cloud infrastructure with identity perimeter enhancements. Our customers are racing towards cloud systems which are used not only by employees but also contractors, temporary staff and vendors. Our customers jointly recognized that additional controls were needed to manage who, how, and under what conditions these identities are allowed access. We helped dozens of customers envision and deploy technologies such as:
- Azure AD Conditional Access – validating pre-checks before allowing application access
- Multifactor Authentication (MFA) – login + text/call/app based application access
- Cloud Application Single Sign On (SSO) – simplified user portal and unified credentials for application access
- Monitored their key systems for security breaches. It was time to stop and re-focus efforts on existing systems before introducing new technology. Breaches were happening everywhere. Systems ranged from ALARM (SIEM-as-a-Service), enhanced endpoint protection, and perimeter monitoring. None of this would have been possible without enhancements via machine learning and UEBA (User and Entity Behavior Analytics).
- Education. Many customers needed to re-tool as waves of security incidents swept over small and mid-sized businesses in recent years. We got the word out in many ways including:
- Security Awareness Training – in-person as well as via our This Month in Security webinar delivered monthly by a cyber security professional
- 4 x Security Summits – in-person in the suburbs
- Dozens of events with regional memberships including ISACA, IMA, CPA, AICPA Academy, Legal Firms, Insurance Firms
- 100’s of 1:1 private events
- Unfolded strategic security initiatives and overcame compliance challenges through our vCISO services. Company supply chains are increasingly asking for security assurances in the form of questionnaires, SOC or other attestations. Keeping up requires the expertise of seasoned professionals accustomed to crossroads of compliance and people/process/technology controls.
- One final thought:
- Customers are very concerned about locking down the data shifted to Office 365. Microsoft’s default tenant settings are not logical for a customer concerned about data security. Our Office 365 Security Health Check is a high value and with good reason is “flying off the shelves.”
Give me a shout or hit firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what 2018 has in store for you and your organization.