Microsoft 365’s New Pricing

Microsoft 365’s New Pricing

One of the most popular cloud productivity tools in the world is Microsoft 365. Small and large businesses alike have depended on Microsoft’s Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, etc.) for decades, and now use the cloud version instead. 

Microsoft 365 has become so popular in the 10+ years that the platform has been around (originally released as Office 365) is the result of all the additional apps that have been added. 

As the company has grown over the years, it has added over 24 different cloud applications, increasing its value to businesses. Among them are: 

  • OneDrive for cloud storage 
  • Microsoft Teams  
  • SharePoint 
  • Microsoft Forms 
  • OneNote 
  • Planner 
  • Bookings and many others 

Many of these updates have been at no additional cost, so organizations have enjoyed more capabilities without needing to pay extra for them. Several companies have even been able to save money by dropping other paid subscriptions thanks to the apps and enhancements that Microsoft 365 apps provided. 

The recent addition of webinar registration and sign-up pages to Microsoft Teams is an example of this. Prior to the launch of this service, many companies used a different service to schedule and hold webinars. Microsoft Teams removed the need for that additional service.  

However, the bill for all those value-adding services is about to come due. Microsoft is about to introduce a price increase that it describes as “the first substantive upgrade to Office 365 since its launch a decade ago.”   

As of March 1, 2022, Microsoft will update its pricing, which will affect commercial SaaS (Software as a Service) users. 

The following services will be affected by the price increase: 

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic ($6.40 to $7.70) 
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium (from $25.60 to $28.20) 
  • Microsoft 365 E3 (from $42.60 to $47.90) 
  • Office 365 E1 (from $10.20 to $12.80) 
  • Office 365 E3 (from $26.60 to $30.60) 
  • Office 365 E5 (from $46.60 to $50.60) 

It will be the first major price change in 10 years for Microsoft 365 and will affect both annual and multi-year pricing. 

Read more on Microsoft 365’s New Price Increase Here. 

Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day

What is it?

Many countries, including Canada, observe Data Privacy Day today. The day honors the impact of technology on our privacy rights and stresses the importance of protecting and valuing personal information.

Background on how it all started.

Data Privacy Week began on January 28 to honor the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. The first European Data Privacy Day was held in 2007 as part of a Council of Europe initiative.

Who participates in it?

Observed in 47 countries across Europe, including the United States, Canada, Nigeria, and Israel, Data Privacy Day aims to promote awareness and best practices for protecting personal information.

Learn more about Data Privacy Week from the National Cybersecurity Alliance.

Microsoft Windows 11 Review

Microsoft Windows 11 Review

In July 2015 Microsoft released what was dubbed “the last version of Windows”. This marked the end of decades of heavy-duty OS updates in favor of a more incremental approach. Seven years later, Microsoft releases Windows 11, the successor to Windows 10, on October 25, 2021. Built on the same core architecture as Windows 10, but with a ton of enhanced features.  

Here’s everything you need to know about Windows 11 to date. 

What’s New? 

There’s more to Windows 11 than just a new collection of wallpaper. There are the usual changes:  

  • new colors and icons 
  • significantly updated Start menu and taskbar 
  • completely redesigned Settings app 
  • widgets pane that delivers news and reminders in bitesize chunks 
  • significantly improved snapping of windows into position   

Thankfully, there are many other improvements and tweaks that make upgrading to the latest OS worthwhile. Let’s look at some standout features. 

  1. Bar to Dock 

Similarly, to Mac OS and many Linux desktop environments, Windows 11’s taskbar can be turned into a dock. Windows 11’s icons can be centered, which is helpful when using it with a touch-enabled device. Traditional taskbar users will still be able to align the Start button and app icons to the left. 

  1. Microsoft Teams  

In Windows 11, a single click on the taskbar can connect you to friends or contacts via text, voice, or video chat. 

This is thanks to Microsoft Teams, which Microsoft positioned as the primary tool for communicating with family, friends, and colleagues in Windows 11. Many users will find that having a built-in videoconferencing solution in the OS is an excellent addition. 

  1. Easily Accessible Snap Layouts and Groups  

The Windows operating system already had the capability of snapping windows to the sides or corners of the screen. The feature is now accessible via a newly added quick menu when hovering over the maximize button in Windows 11. 

What to look out for 

Despite some of the new features of Windows 11, there have been a lot of bugs and concerns from the public. Not everything is rosy. The changes and tweaks in Windows 11 are likely to dissuade many users from upgrading from Windows 10 to 11 right away. 

Here’s what you need to be on the lookout for. 

  1. GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) Capability 

Even if you have a GPU that can speed up your brand-new desktop, the rest of your PC might not be able to handle it. 

To enjoy a great PC experience, you also need great hardware. Because Windows 11 is a brand new, modern OS, it also requires relatively new and modern PCs. 

If your PC’s CPU is older than Intel’s 7th generation Core or AMD’s Zen 2, you will not be able to upgrade to Windows 11. 

  1. The Taskbar 

When it comes to the taskbar a lot of functionality is missing, especially when it comes to customizing and positioning. Drag and drop to the taskbar are gone; the taskbar can no longer be positioned to the top or sides, and the quick access menu only appears when you right-click the Windows button. 

  1. User Adaptability 

Microsoft promised Windows 11 would resolve some of the limitations of Windows 10, however, some users may have trouble adapting to the new features. The removal of SkypeCortana, and Paint 3D from Windows 11 may increase its disadvantages. 

Nevertheless, it might be more accurate to use “was” since these applications aren’t built into the operating system anymore. However, you will be able to download, install, and use it as a separate app. 

Change can be scary, and the release of Windows 11 has not been as smooth as Microsoft would have liked, but there are a lot of cool new features to look forward to. 

With Windows 11, businesses will have plenty to look forward to, from features that support new ways of working to enhancements that help keep employees secure. In the post-pandemic landscape, Windows 11 provides value to a wide range of remote workers.  

However, companies and organizations across the globe will need to carefully evaluate whether these advantages are worth the inevitable inconveniences that early adopters will experience. 

Is your Managed Service Provider Secure?

Is your Managed Service Provider Secure?

What is MSP?  

A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a company that manages a clients Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and end-user systems on-site or remotely. A Managed Service Provider (MSP) provides a defined set of day-to-day management services to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), nonprofits, and government agencies. Among these services are network and infrastructure management, security, and monitoring. 

The majority of MSPs handle multiple IT services daily to free their clients from extended downtimes and interruptions of services. 

Why your MSP should be secure?

Cyberattacks on MSPs (Managed Service Providers) or on tools used by MSPs can have devastating effects on many businesses. IT (Information Technology) service providers are big targets these days. By gaining access to a tool an MSP uses, a cybercriminal can trigger a snowball effect, creating a security risk for every company network that the MSP has access to. 

 In the event of a security breach, your business will be put at risk if the MSP is not secure and does not take preventative measures against cyber-attacks. 

 MSPs are targets for Cyberattacks.  

MSPs have access to client networks, personally identifiable information, licenses and confidential documents. Most MSPs use remote desktop applications such as AnyDesk to troubleshoot and support clients remotely, which is typically installed on all the devices. If a hacker gains access to an MSP’s network or an application they use, it will pose serious challenges. 

 While gaining access to an MSP’s network seems like a rare occurrence, it happens more often than you may think.  

What to look for in a secure MSP. 

It is important for you to vet to your MSP and inquire about their own cybersecurity measures and practices. Does your MSP have a security-first mindset? If so, you will find that your MSP has advanced cybersecurity protection in place for their business because they understand the realities and importance of having a secure environment. 

When it comes to MSPs, you want one that can provide full IT services coverage, design, and build custom solutions and understand how to meet your business goals, all while taking security seriously. Fortunately, at Toos Technical Solutions we have a deep understanding of the business landscapes in which we operate and the challenges they present. 

Your business depends on your MSP’s security. If a Security First MSP is what your business is looking for and want to help navigating, contact us.  

Cybersecurity: Holiday Online Safety

Cybersecurity: Holiday Online Safety

The holidays are just around the corner, which means lots of consumers will make purchases online. Cybercriminals will take advantage of all this activity to steal sensitive information from users. In this article, we’ll look at some scams hackers like to use during the holiday shopping season and how you can avoid them. 

 During the 2017 holiday season, there was a 57.5% increase in attempts at cyberattacks( According to ZDNET). A common scam is that users are offered fake promotions, discounts, or other deals on fraudulent websites. As soon as shoppers reach the checkout page, the attacker steals any personally identifiable information they enter. The information could include credit or debit card numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and more. 

Many of these sites use logos and validation icons that make the site appear secure but are merely non-clickable pictures. 

Mobile shopping is also becoming more popular. Another type of attack to be aware of is fake retail apps, in which users attempt to make purchases but are confronted with fraud or ransomware. 

Here are some safety tips now that you are aware of some of these new risks. 

  1. Always be cautious when interacting with deals and promotions. Don’t believe everything you read. 
  2. Don’t do your online shopping while connected to a public Wi-Fi network, which isn’t secure. 
  3. Avoid clicking on links in emails, social media, and advertisements. 
  4. To mitigate the risk of having your data stolen or your device locked, make sure not to perform any transactions over mobile apps either. 
  5. Lastly, you want to make sure the sites you visit are secure, so avoid suspicious URLs and shop only at established websites from trusted brands. 

Now that you have this information, we hope you will be more vigilant with your online purchases!