What is the Cyber Essential Certification?
This certification is a Government-backed and industry-supported scheme that allows businesses to protect themselves against the growing threat of cyber attacks such as malware and phishing, and provides a clear statement of the basic controls organisations should have in place to protect themselves.
The UK Government provided this certification to create a safer internet space for organisations of all sizes, across all sectors. Developed by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Cyber Essentials is considered the best first step to a secure network, protecting users from 80% of the most basic cyber security breaches.
With a Cyber Essentials certification, organisations can showcase their credentials as trustworthy and secure when it comes to cyber security.
We hope that our Cyber Essentials certification gives you more trust and security when deciding to work with us for your tech projects in the future. If you have any more questions regarding our certification, please get in touch.
To Find out more about the Cyber Essentials Certification, click here.
Last week tens of thousands of people from all over the world came together to gain experiences and insights from Microsoft subject matter experts and partner communities as they advance their businesses, with a more thorough understanding of Microsoft's cloud to edge, secure, and trusted business platforms.
The following is a summary of the announcements and news related to modern working for you to keep in mind as you start implementing plans for a very successful year ahead.
If you're looking for a new way to experience Windows 10 or Windows 11 as a cloud service, then Windows 365 Cloud is your way to go. You will be able to stream the full Window's experience including Apps, settings and data to any device from the Microsoft Cloud.
With Windows 365, partners can:
Read Microsoft 365 General Manager Wangui McKelvey’s blog post to learn more.
New collaborative apps from partnerships with independent software vendors (ISVs). These include Atlassian Confluence, SAP Cloud for Customer, Workday and Salesforce- are coming to Microsoft Teams. These integrations allow structured business processes and data to come together increasing collaborative work. Developers and ISVs can build the next generation of apps with collaboration at the core, allowing asynchronous and real-time collaboration for chats, meetings, content creation and business processes.
Read Microsoft 365 CVP Jared Spataro’s blog post to learn more.
Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform that brings together tools for employee engagement, wellbeing, learning and knowledge. Adding integrations with more than 20 partners from the likes of ServiceNow, Workday and Qualtrics comes into play during Autumn. With these new integrations customers can seamlessly surface tools, insights and experiences personalised for employees during their workflow.
Read the Microsoft 365 Blog post from Microsoft CVP Jared Spataro and Microsoft Business Applications CVP Alysa Taylor to learn more.
Microsoft have announced new benefits for ISVs who want to build and market Modern Workplace apps for Microsoft Viva and MS Teams. Those ISVs that are eligible, will receive access to Microsoft technology, one-on-one consultations, curated training, and marketing resources that will help them reach the 145 million people using and collaborating on MS Teams daily.
Two new tools are now in preview that are intended to make it easier to deliver managed security services and identify opportunities to grow.
Microsoft 365 Lighthouse
Microsoft 365 Lighthouse is a unified portal that assists managed service providers (MSP) partners to easily secure devices, data and users, at no extra costs, for their Microsoft 365 Business Premium customers.
Available in private preview, Project "Orland" is a fresh, new experience in the Partner Centre to help Microsoft Partners grow their cloud business by sharing Microsoft-powered insights about their own customers which will improve account management.
To find out more about the Microsoft Inspire event, head over to the main article.
If you need additional Office 365, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams or Power Platform support, feel free to contact us and one of our expert advisors will be able to assist you.
Covid-19 has drastically shifted the way we balance work and living. Businesses have had to quickly adapt and adopt new technologies and initiatives to guarantee employee safety whilst maintaining productivity and efficiency in the workplace. At Adepteq, we know that adapting to the new norm of working from home whilst navigating work-life balance is essential for business stability. Therefore, our Resource Booking App can help prepare your organisation for hybrid working and returning to work.
We will be running TWO Webinars showcasing our Resource Booking App.
Thursday 22nd July 2021 11:00 to 11:30 BST
Tuesday 27th July 2021 14:30 to 15:00 BST
* An exclusive offer is available to those who register and attend our webinar, a FREE discovery call, and if you decide to sign up for our Resource Booking App before the end of July 2021, you will receive 50% off deployment and training!*
It’s important that after more than a year from working at home, and safety being the number one priority- it’s done right. With our Resource Booking App, ensure your safe return to work.
Melanie Hoskin from Mount Green, a successful user of the Resource Booking App, shared their experience of the app in hand with a safe return to work:
“With the pandemic upon us we have had no choice but to work differently and that of course means keeping safety of our staff as the focus. The app ensures we do not exceed the maximum number of people in the office at any one time. It also ensures that we can ‘track and trace’ staff should we need to if the unfortunate should happen, and we need to trace staff following a positive Covid-19 case".
We look forward to having you join us for our Resource Booking App webinar, if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us for more information.
Last week, Microsoft shared a new remote code execution vulnerability in Windows, that has been using the Windows Print Spooler. A remote code execution vulnerability exists when the Windows Print Spooler service improperly performs privileged file operations. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code with SYSTEM privileges. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. The vulnerability is actively removed and Microsoft published two workarounds to protect systems from being attacked.
Microsoft have provided two suggestions: to disable the Print Spooler service or to disable inbound remote printing using the Group Policy.
Determine if the Print Spooler service is running
Run the following:
Get-Service -Name Spooler
If the Print Spooler is running or if the service is not set to disabled, select one of the following options to either disable the Print Spooler service, or to Disable inbound remote printing through Group Policy:
Option 1 - Disable the Print Spooler service
If disabling the Print Spooler service is appropriate for your enterprise, use the following PowerShell commands:
Stop-Service -Name Spooler -Force
Set-Service -Name Spooler -StartupType Disabled
Impact of workaround Disabling the Print Spooler service disables the ability to print both locally and remotely.
Option 2 - Disable inbound remote printing through Group Policy
You can also configure the settings via Group Policy as follows:
Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Printers
Disable the “Allow Print Spooler to accept client connections:” policy to block remote attacks.
You must restart the Print Spooler service for the group policy to take effect.
Impact of workaround This policy will block the remote attack vector by preventing inbound remote printing operations. The system will no longer function as a print server, but local printing to a directly attached device will still be possible.
The leading provider of human layer security, Egress, recently announced getting their hands on Aquilai, an anti-phishing provider with natural language processing technology and machine learning that puts all targeted email attacks, impersonation and spear phishing attempts to a halt. Egress Intelligent Email Security platforms are strengthened due to the acquisition of Aquilai.
Egress and Aquilai are a powerful combination that will provide customers with protection against all inbound cyberattacks targeting employees and real-time outbound email security for shared data, including inadvertent data loss and email encryption. Due to the increased volume and sophistication of targeted phishing attacks, security leaders need an intelligent, non-disruptive email security solution that detects multi-vector exploits and thwarts zero-day attacks. With seamless integration, Microsoft Outlook will enable organisations to effectively defend against email data loss and the increasing number of attacks targeting the 365 platform.
The acquisition will begin immediately with the launch of Egress Defend, incorporating Aquilai’s anti-phishing technology and the following key capabilities:
Egress CEO Tony Pepper comments: “Organisations face a daily onslaught of targeted attacks via email that are designed to exploit employees. By acquiring Aquilai, Egress will expand its protection over our customers’ human layer to ensure they can defend against targeted inbound attacks and outbound data loss as employees share content. I’m also personally delighted to welcome Jack Chapman as our new VP of Threat Intelligence and look forward to working with him to help our customers level-up in their fight against phishing.”
Chapman comments: “Aquilai is the perfect fit to advance Egress’ mission to secure the human layer, adding sophisticated anti-phishing capability to existing products that secure outbound content as it is shared by employees. I’m also delighted to be joining Egress as VP of Threat Intelligence to further accelerate the company’s high growth in EMEA and North America.”
As a result of the acquisition and launch of Egress Defend, the Aquilai Ajax brand will be retired from 1st June 2021.
We partnered with Aquilai to provide our clients with leading edge protection against the most common (and costly!) form of cyber attack. Once we understand your environment we will provide a proposal to deploy Egress Defend to work alongside your existing defences, with licences on a per user basis.
Adepteq can provide an online demo and arrange a 10-day free Proof of Value, so you can see how Egress Defend works in your environment. Simply visit our page to arrange your online demo and to speak to our experts.
If you would like to read the full article click here.
Phil Cave - Technical Director Adepteq
We received a request to offer a solution to collect confirmations when a new starter has read and understood the company's policy documents. The policy documents are currently emailed to the new starters personal email address as they do not yet have an account in the organisations' Office 365 tenant and they then need to be printed, signed, scanned and returned. This is not a good solution because many people do not have access to a scanner.
My first thought was that either DocuSign or Adobe Sign would be the best tool for the job, but that would mean additional costs and training. They already have Office 365 and would like to use if possible.
To minimise administration and to avoid any security implications I do not want to offer a solution that includes adding the new starters as guest users to the tenant. This would mean that the user has to create a Microsoft account if they don't already have one and this can cause support issues for non-IT literate users. It would also mean that there would end up being a lot of guest accounts in the Tenant that need to be removed at some point.
The solution that I put together is quite simple and uses Outlook, Forms, PowerApps and SharePoint.
The first step was to create the form. This has only a text box for the user to type their name and a submit button. The form must allow anonymous users because the new starters will not have an Office 365 account. The form settings are shown in the image below.
For simplicity the form that I created only collects the name of the new starter to use as their confirmation that they have read and understood the policies. You could collect as much information as you require, for example, there could be a tick box for each policy included in the policy pack.
Below are images showing how the form looks on a PC and on a mobile phone.
When you create a form using the Forms App it will work great on both PC and mobile without you having to do any extra work.
Next, I created a list in SharePoint. This will probably be in the HR team site and will serve as a register of all policy read confirmation. You can see from the image below that I am only using two columns to store the name and date. If the form was collecting more information, then a column would be required for each field on the form.
Next, I created a Flow using Power Automate. The Flow needs to run whenever a response to the Form is received and then add the Form data to the list in SharePoint.
First, create the trigger
Then get the response details
Then create a new list item in SharePoint using the form response(s)
This is one of the simplest Flows that I have had to create, but it does exactly as is needed. I could easily add some additional steps to enhance functionality, for example, a notification that the response was received could be sent to the HR team.
Now that everything is in place all that remains is to send out the email with policies attached and a link to the Form.
Go to your form in the Forms App and click Share and then copy the link.
The link will look like this:
You can add the link to the email using the insert link options in Outlook.
If you would like to learn more about Forms, SharePoint, Power Automate, or any products related to Microsoft 365 please visit our website. We are also available to speak to on 0800 6444 365 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently we had a customer ask us to automate the creation of structured folders with Power Automate for new projects and to also generate and assign a project number. When a user creates a new folder for the project, the folder should automatically be renamed to "UKXXXX - Folder Name". For example, if the user creates a new folder named "Important Project" then it should be renamed to "UK1234 - Important Project". Then a set of subfolders should be created within it, as shown below.
When first looking at the requirements it seems relatively simple, but I soon realised that there was a complication that I had not considered. There is no action in Power Automate to rename a folder.
Before creating the Flow, I created a document library to store the project documents and a list to store the next project number.
I called the document library "Live Projects". No metadata columns are required but I can add these in the future if needed to assist with searching.
I called the List "Next LP Number", it is very simple and only contains one item. The item has an ID of 1. It is probably a good idea to apply some permissions on the list to ensure that nobody can delete the item. The list has a number column to store the next project number. Just add the first item with the number of the first project. As below.
The first step of the Flow is to add the trigger. In this case I used "When a file is created (properties only)". This is because I want the Flow to be triggered when a new folder is created.
Then I created some variable that I will use in the Flow.
'Current Name' is initialised with the path of the folder that has triggered the Flow. This is relative to the site address.
Next the Flow needs to check that the item that was created is a folder and that the folder is at the root of the document library. This bit is important because without the check, each folder in the set that is created later will cause the Flow to trigger again and again and again... I discovered this to my cost, and I will not make the same mistake again.
Checking that the item is a folder is simple. Checking that the new folder has been created at the root of the document library is more complex.
I used indexOf(variable('Current Name'), '/') is equal to lastIndexOf(variables('Current Name'), '/') to check that there is only the one '/' in the string variable 'Current Name. This works well for me, but I am sure there are other methods.
If the result of the condition is False, then the Flow does nothing and exits. If the result is True, then the Flow continues to the next step.
First get the next project number from the list we created earlier.
Now the variable 'job' has been set to the project number, so we have enough information to create the new name for the folder.
The variable 'New Name' is now set correctly, so the project number can be incremented ready to be saved back to the list for next time.
We can now rename the new folder, but there is no action available to do this, so we need to use "Send an HTTP request" as shown here.
Now we can save the next project number back to the list. This is done by updating list item 1 with the variable 'Job'.
All that remains now is to create the set of folders using the "Create new folder" action for each of the required folders. Repeat the action as many times as needed.
That is the end of the Flow, but as usual there is more that can be added. For example, a notification could be sent out to project managers and a set of tasks created to manage the project.
Power Automate is an incredibly powerful application that offers a variety of ready made templates to help you get started.
Read our recent post on the retirement of SharePoint 2010 Workflows here.
Phil Cave - Technical Director Adepteq
Working with dates has never been simple, just look at the issues surrounding the 'Millennium Bug'. There is always the time and date format to consider and then there are time zones. ISO 8601 does help by standardising the date to YYY-MM-DD, so that 2nd of March 2020 becomes 2020-03-02 no matter where you are located. Then there is the time portion, but I think i'll leave that alone for today.
Last week Microsoft announced that they will be turning off SharePoint 2010 workflows in SharePoint Online. This step will cause many organisations a huge amount of effort to identify and rectify where 2010 workflows are being used and then recreating them.
There is little point in recreating these workflows using SharePoint 2013 workflow as these are nowhere near as powerful or future proof as the Flows that can be created using Power Automate.
Power Automate also has the advantage that it is not locked into SharePoint but can work with data from over 300 other systems using the available connectors. New connected are being added all the time.
One of the things that we do at Adepteq is offer annual support contracts for SharePoint Online and also for the entire Office 365 suite. These contracts are stored in our helpdesk system which we created in SharePoint and have been using for many years now. I think we first created it on SharePoint 2010.
Our contract renewal reminders are managed using a long running SharePoint 2010 workflow. Unfortunately, this workflow will stop working in November, so I will have to rewrite it soon.
It is a simple workflow that uses the out of the box action "Find Interval Between Dates" to check how many days are remaining until the end of the contract. If there are 30 days remaining an email is sent to our sales team with a copy to the support team. We can then send a proposal for a new contract to the customer.
Extract from current 2010 workflow
I shall recreate this functionality using Power Automate. This new Flow will run every night at 1am to check the number of days remaining. If there are 30 days remaining, then a notification will be sent to our sales team so that they can create the new proposal.
Power Automate could be used to create the proposal automatically and send it directly to the customer, but that is for a future blog post.
First create a new Flow using "Scheduled - From Blank"
We need the Flow to run once every day. Here I chose 3am as the start time but you can start at any time that is convenient, it just depends on when you want the email reminder to be delivered.
Next we need to add a step to get the list items from the contracts lists. You will then need to specify the site address and the list name.
You need to remember that by default 'get items' will only return the first 100 items, which is not good if you have more than 100 contracts. To return more than 100 items you will need to go into settings and enable pagination and then set the threshold to a suitable value. In the example below I have used 5000.
let's initialise a variable to store the number of days remaining for the contract.
Now add an 'Apply to Each' step that we will use to enumerate each list item.
We now need to calculate how many days are remaining for each contract so that we can send a reminder email when only 30 days remain.
This is more complicated than it is in the 2010 workflow because there is no 'Find Interval Between Dates' action in Power Automate. So instead we have to do the calculation using the Ticks function. This returns the number of nanoseconds since 1st January 1601. We need to get the difference in nanoseconds between now and the contract start date, then convert that into the number of days. Finally, take that number away from 365 to give the days remaining until the end of the current contract.
To convert nanoseconds to days we just have to divide by 864000000000.
This is all done using the expression 365-(div(sub(ticks(formatDateTime(utcNow(),'yyy-MM-dd')),ticks(item()?['ContractStartDate'])),864000000000)) Just remember to replace 'ContractStartDate' with the name of the column that contains your date.
Now the variable 'daysLeft' contains the number of days remaining for the current contract, we can use a simple condition to check the value and take action. In my example below, if there are 30 days remaining an email reminder is sent. If not, then no action is taken.
This Flow can now easily be developed further to create a task to the sales team and to follow up if the task is not completed. If the customer decides to renew the contract then the account team could be notified to raise an invoice...
Read our recent post on the retirement of SharePoint 2010 Workflows here.