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What is Microsoft Office 365 for Businesses.

Office 365

Office 365 is a subscription based version of the popular Microsoft Office Software and other productivity tools. It has the added benefit of being cloud based and can be accessed via an internet browser.

Office 365 has a variety of subscription plans from as little as $2/user/month to $35/user/month. The plans are designed to cater to different business productivity needs and different sizes.

Most of the Office 365 plans provide a desktop and cloud based version of the Office applications. The Office applications can be installed on up to five devices (Desktop, Laptops & Phones) per each subscribed user, this makes it possible for users to work from a variety of devices.

Some of the applications included in Office 365 are:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Exchange Online
  • SharePoint Online
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft Groups
  • Microsoft Yammer
  • Microsoft Delve
  • Power BI


How to Purchase Office 365

Office 365 can be purchased directly from Microsoft website or from a Microsoft Partner. We are a Microsoft Partner and assist businesses in selecting, purchase, installation and support of all Office 365 plans.

How to Access and Download Office 365

You can login to Office by going to the Office 365 Portal. Once you are in you can download Office 365 software like Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. You can also access the online version of all the available software.

Some Benefits of Office 365 for Businesses:

  • Pay-AS-You-Go: Office 365 is a software as a service (SAAS), this means you pay for it like an utility bill. This frees up cash for other business expense. You can pay on a monthly or yearly basis. Paying yearly is a cheaper than monthly.
  • Up-to-date Softwares: Office 365 is delivered via the cloud so you will have always have the latest features and most up-to-date versions. This is one less IT support service to pay for.
  • Access Data from Anywhere: You have the option of storing your data in cloud via Office 365 and accessing from anywhere via an internet browser. This provides the ability for employees to work from anywhere
  • Advanced Data Security: Microsoft has better data security than any small business could ever implement. Data is stored in secure data centers and encrypted in transit.
  • No Servers to Maintain: You do not need a server to host Microsoft Office, SharePoint or even a file server for data storage. This also saves on server maintenance and electricity cost.

Office 365 Plans

There are different Office 365 plans to suit almost all business needs. Some plans and the scenarios for usage are:
Exchange Online for hosted Business Class Email.
SharePoint Online for Online file storage, Internal Team Site and Project Collaboration.
Kiosk Plans for communication and email access for Desk-less and Shift Workers.
Office 365 Business Premium for Small Business that need online and desktop versions of Office products.
Office 365 Enterprise E3 for businesses that need data security and compliance requirements.
Office 365 Enterprise E5 for businesses that need advanced data security, regulatory compliance, seamless communication in and out of the office.

Contact Us If you are thinking of moving to Office 365 or would like a free Demo to find out how it can benefit your business.

Microsoft StaffHub, a Scheduling and Communication tool for Desk-less Workers.

Microsoft StaffHub lets you create and manage work schedules, share files and communicate with team.

Microsoft recently released a scheduling and collaboration tool called StaffHub. This tool is aimed at businesses with shift employers and/or employees without a permanent desk.

Businesses like retail, hospitality and healthcare can easily communicate shift schedules and important work files through the StaffHub app (IOS and Android) and the online site. Employees no longer have to go to the break room to check schedules or logon to computers to request time off. StaffHub provides a quick way to communicate with employees on their mobile devices. The tool is available with Office 365 business plans K1, E1, E3, and E5.

Brief overview of things You Can Do with StaffHub
All employees will need to have at least Office 365 K1 plan for access to StaffHub app and site. The K1 plan is $4/user/month, the plan also includes 2GB of Email and Office online access.
More details of K1 plan here: Office 365 K1 Plan

1 ) Create and Share Schedules: Managers can create employee schedules. StaffHub has a calendar type scheduling format that can be used for scheduling.

StaffHub Scheduling

StaffHub Scheduling

2) View Schedule and Trade Shifts: Employees can view schedules and easily swap schedules with team members.

3) Request Time Off/Vacation: Managers can create various time off options and employees can use this for vacation, sick days and other time off requests.


StaffHub Time Off request setup.

4) Share Important Information to the Team: You can upload important team files like Employee HandBook, Team Goals and other important documents for easy employee access. You can also upload video and quick notification using this.

StaffHub Team Files

StaffHub Team Files

Microsoft StaffHub is a great tool for mobile communication with employees. As always better communication leads to better productivity in any business.

Contact Us for assistance in setting this up for your team.

Do I Need A Server For My Small Business?


I get asked this questions quite a bit, especially by new business owners. A lot of current businesses also want to get rid of their office existing server and move to the cloud.

Moving an office server to the cloud is always an option with the right internet bandwidth and large enough budget but this post is about exploring the need for onsite server in a small business.

Before deciding on whether a server is needed or not, below are some of the uses/benefits of a server in a small business are:

  • Line of Business Application Requirement.
  • User authentication for computers (Active Directory)
  • File server for business data.
  • Backup location for computers.

A few factors need to be considered before this question can be accurately answered. I will list the factors below and later explain how it impacts the sever or no server decision.

1) Regulatory Compliance
2) Employee Assigned Computers.
3) Employee Size
4) Line of Business Application.

1) Regulatory Compliance: Compliance requirements like HIPAA § 164.308(a)(4)Information Access Management requires each employee have a unique user ID for all Information Systems, so employee activities can be logged and audited on each system. This can be done without a server (Active Directory) but a server makes the management of user IDs and password a lot easier than managing each user on each computer.

2) Employee Assigned Computers: If your employer have permanent assigned computers then you will only need to manage one or maybe two logins on each computer. This becomes more complicated if employees roam between available computers like a Doctor’s office. Imagine managing different credentials for 10 employees on 10 computers, this quickly becomes an avalanche of IDs (100) to manage. An active directory server makes this easier to manage, by  managing all 10 IDs from one server.

3) Employee Size: User authentication is a little easier to managed for a business with five or less employees. Even with regulatory compliance and non-assigned computers, you will be managing at most 25 IDs on five computers for a five person company.

4) Line Of Business Application: If your primary line of business (LOB) requires a Server to function, then you will need a server. There is no away around, you might be able to go with a cloud server but it still depends on the LOB and your internet bandwidth.

After considering all the factors listed above, my answer to question varies from business to business. If your business is not affected by any of the criteria above, then you can do away with an on-site server or at least move to the cloud with a cloud server.

CyberSecurity Tips


Cybersecurity Statistics Sheet
eBook – Cybersecurity Tips for Employees
Quick Tips – 5 Ways to Stay Secure Online
NIST – Small Business Information Security Fundamentals.

5 Steps For Protecting Patients Data (PHI).

According to Health IT Outcomes security breaches cost healthcare $6 billion annually. Patients medical records are now 10 times more valuable than credit card numbers to hackers. Hackers monetize patients medical record in different ways and the market is for it is growing. Protecting your patients’ data should be a high priority at your practice. We have listed some steps below to get you started.

Assign a security officer. Most businesses, especially small ones do not have anyone in charge of IT security. The security officer handles all the security related issues or works with a contracted IT firm. A security officer also provides the employee with a resource for any security related questions.

Perform a Risk Analysis. Details of a Risk Analysis can be found here. A risk analysis reveals potential holes in your IT infrastructure hackers can use to steal patient data. Once the holes are revealed you need to take steps to address these holes.

Employee Training. Employee blunders is the second leading cause of HIPAA breaches. Employees need to be trained on the right way to handle patients data and the impact if its not handled with the highest security.

Inventory of Equipment/Software Storing Patient Data. Most business do not know all the places patients data is stored. You can only protect patient data if you know where its stored. You should also restrict access to the data based on job responsibilities.

Install Technical Safeguards. You need to technical safeguards in place that prevents hackers from gaining access to your network. Most businesses have some in place but they are either not monitored, reviewed or updated. This responsibility can be handled by your assigned security officer or outsourced to an outside firm. Some technical safeguards are listed below:

  • Firewall.
  • Antivirus.
  • Software Patches.
  • Backup and Recovery.

The steps listed above should you get you started. Achieving HIPAA compliance is not as hard when you prioritize protecting your patients’ data.

HIPAA Security Risk Analysis

A risk analysis is the first step towards HIPAA compliance. A Security Risk Analysis basically identifies what is wrong. HIPAA defines a Risk Analysis as:

An accurate and thorough assessment of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information held by the [organization].

Risk analysis and risk assessment are sometimes used interchangeably but they are different as defined by HIPAA. A risk analysis is a required step towards HIPAA compliance while a risk assessment is conducted if there is a breach. You conduct a risk assessment after a breach to determine if patients’ protected health information (PHI) has been compromised. This will also determine if you need to implement the HIPAA breach notification.

You don’t need any special tools or qualifications to perform a risk analysis. There are tool available that make the process a lot easier and less time consuming. Any covered entity can choose to perform the risk analysis in-house, if you have the time and expertise to do so.

Regardless of how you conduct your Risk Analysis there are certain elements it must include. Elements of a Risk Analysis are:

Scope Of The Analysis.
Data Collection.
Identify and Document Potential Threats and Vulnerabilities.
Assess Current Security Measures.
Determine the Likelihood of Threat Occurrence.
Determine the Potential Impact of Threat Occurrence.
Determine the Level of Risk.
Finalize Documentation.
Periodic Review and Updates to the Risk Assessment.

No matter how you conduct your Risk Analysis, make sure all the elements above are covered and documented. Conducting a Risk Analysis does not mean you are HIPAA compliant, its only the first step towards compliance.