SME productivity & collaboration tools with cybersecurity


[This is a sponsored article with Microsoft Malaysia.]

There are many things to consider when it comes to running a business, such as having a solid business plan, marketing, and understanding your customers.

A reliable cybersecurity solution is also equally as important too. This is because the number of cyberattacks has increased by 238% since the start of the pandemic.

Nowadays, there are tools that not only help with productivity but also help keep your business safe from cybercriminals. For example, there is Microsoft 365, a line of subscription tools offered by Microsoft which includes the Microsoft Office product line, and a bunch of cybersecurity protection features.

Here are some more business aspects that Malaysian SMEs shouldn’t overlook if they’re looking to strengthen their operations for scaling, and how Microsoft 365 enhances these practices.

1. Software & app integration

Having multiple software open at the same time on your laptop is akin to having many tabs open in your browser. 

It gives you the impression that you’re being very productive and busy, but it could be masking the probable fact that there is some unnecessary time wastage and distraction.

Seamlessly transition between your laptop and your phone / Image Credit: Microsoft Malaysia

The problem with jumping from software to software isn’t just how taxing it can be on your device, but also how not everyone is built for multitasking either.

On something like Microsoft Teams, users can seamlessly open Word documents, Excel sheets, or even Powerpoint slides without needing to launch the individual programs.

Furthermore, by embracing cloud services, not only can businesses keep hardware costs down, but they could also see productivity increases of up to 40%.

Software available on Microsoft 365 / Image Credit: Microsoft Malaysia

2. Internal and external collaboration

We are constantly being challenged in the way we work. The work environment is still evolving and adapting to the current landscape.

Some companies have chosen to return to the physical office, some have chosen to forgo the office completely and have everyone work from home or remotely. The remaining have chosen to implement a hybrid working environment.

Across the board though, it’s crucial for companies to maintain a collaborative environment online or offline, or improve it so that operations are efficient and accurate.

Collaboration is crucial in today’s business landscape / Image Credit: Microsoft Malaysia

For example, when our company was filming remotely, our team used a shared document to communicate behind the scenes with each other in real-time.

Through Microsoft 365, shared documents can be worked on at the same time, reducing the chance of errors and miscommunication. It also negates the need to send the same work file back and forth just to apply small changes.

In addition, users can leave comments directly on the document, streamlining and hastening the entire editing process while making it less likely for comments to be overlooked.

Microsoft Teams lets you separate topics into threads / Image Credit: Microsoft Malaysia

By using Microsoft Teams that’s included with Microsoft 365, discussions are much easier to keep track of as threads can be created specifically for a certain topic instead of creating separate group chats.

When it comes to communicating with suppliers, clients, or other third parties, you would want similar ease of access for sharing necessary documents.

The fact that your Microsoft documents are stored on the cloud simplifies collaboration as the files can be shared from and accessed by any device using a link. Not to mention, this is all done securely, leading us to the next point.

3. Data protection

We take data transferring for granted nowadays, sending over links, files, and more, across platforms like chat apps and cloud storage sites because it’s seemingly and deceptively easy to do so.

The problem is that not every platform has reliable security protocols, and we’re not always doing our due diligence prior to using them.

This would be fine if our data transfers were restricted to sending memes to our colleagues, for example, but what happens when you’re actually transferring company files that are P&C and have the potential to affect stakeholders of the company?

In this scenario, you would want to intentionally choose a platform that you can rely on. 

Microsoft 365 addresses the vulnerabilities in data protection through a bunch of security features. 

For starters, 91% of all cyberattacks start with a phishing email, which can be filtered out using the Phishing and Malware filter. Should a user’s username and password have been compromised, there’s multi-factor authentication, one of which requires an input of a unique one-time use code in order to log into the account.

If the intruder manages to bypass the multi-factor authentication, there’s still the Conditional Access which applies certain policies to selected users, ensuring they only have access to certain information from the start.

It also encrypts your files and data, utilises Microsoft Defender to eliminate business email compromise, ransomware, and advanced malware, and more. You can learn more about Microsoft 365’s security features in the video below:

When it comes to data protection, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. Cost management

It is not unusual for companies to rely on different platforms for specific purposes as no suite has the software for every use case.

However, it would be unwise for companies to subscribe to multiple software services for payrolls, HR, leave management, and payslip generation as they’re all under the same category.

It makes more sense to consolidate and optimise all those at a go. In the same way, you’d want to cut down on the number of operational tools your company uses.

Microsoft 365 bundles all of the necessary office services into one convenient suite, helping you save more money in the long run.

It also makes it much easier to keep track of software updates and your business’ expenditure, should there be a price change.

Image Credit: Microsoft 365

With a subscription model like Microsoft 365’s, your business only needs to perform a monthly payment for a specific user as opposed to paying for software with a one-time payment model.

Should the user leave the company, it will be much easier to cancel their subscription.

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Any good entrepreneur who understands the basics of running a company would already know the above. 

However, it is important to periodically go through and revise your management and operations, because as any company grows and scales, its needs will also change. 

So, it is good to take stock and be reminded of these business aspects. Microsoft 365 is a tool that is poised to solve some of those issues if we know how to fully maximise its usage.

The service is available in a variety of plans including Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Standard, and Premium that offer different solutions to fit your business needs.

Those who are keen on finding out more information can either head to their official website or get in touch with Ms Tan Shuh Hun, SMB Sales Manager from Microsoft (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, or call +6012-2927928.

  • Learn more about Microsoft 365 for businesses here.
  • Learn more about Microsoft 365 for SMB here.

Featured Image Credit: Microsoft Malaysia





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