We Love Blogging!

We're constantly updating, so keep checking in for all the latest and greatest in the world of Insync Technology.

Microsoft Teams Rooms: Windows or Android?

By Damien Margaritis 

What a year it’s been. By now, I would have liked to say we’d be coming out of the worst of what COVID had to offer, but unfortunately, I’m writing this from Melbourne’s fourth COVID lockdown – here’s hoping it’s the last…

Melbourne’s lockdown woes aside, many organisations around the world are now looking to make the move back into the office. However, it’s not expected that we will be going back to the “old status quo”: we’ve fast-forwarded what was already occurring organically, and are now well and truly in the hybrid workplace era. This means that we expect to see a smaller percentage of employees back in the office, and a larger percentage of people continuing to work remotely. COVID has really been a forced experiment of sorts, and the results are in: hybrid ways of working are here to stay (hooray!)

Given that many organisations embraced Microsoft Teams to get them through COVID-induced remote ways of working, it makes sense that, as people come back into the office, the Microsoft Teams experience is extended all the way to the meeting room: using Microsoft Teams native meeting room solutions.

 

So what’s available?

If we put Surface Hubs to the side, for now, we now have two main categories of Teams meeting room solutions:

  • Microsoft Teams Room on Windows
  • Microsoft Teams Room on Android

 

What about Collaboration Bars?

If you’ve come across this term before, you aren’t mistaken: these were absolutely a thing and were first introduced in March 2020 with Yealink and Poly being the first to offer something in this category:

 

These were the first Microsoft Teams Android-based devices that were available, and keeping them in their own silo made a lot of sense at first release. On initial release, there were a number of differences between Android-based solutions and Windows-based solutions that had been around for some time:

  • Collaboration Bars only available in all-in-one bar form (hence the name 😊)
  • Teams Only – no backward compatibility with for Skype for Business
  • Limited control capabilities – the accompanying touch panels for meeting control (at first release, more in this later) did not look and feel like an MTR on Windows touch device
  • Single front of room display only
  • No HDMI Ingress for content sharing
  • No external camera support
  • 720p video only
  • No direct guest join (Zoom\Webex meeting join)

However, it wasn’t long after initial release that Microsoft decided to simplify naming for meeting room solutions and bring collaboration bars under the same umbrella as the Windows-based Teams Rooms Systems, from Ignite 2020:

“We’re now simplifying our portfolio of Teams devices for shared spaces by bringing collaboration bars into the Teams Rooms product family”

What’s New in Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Ignite 2020 – Microsoft Tech Community

With Collaboration Bars joining the Microsoft Teams Room stable, we still needed to differentiate between Android and Windows-based solutions, hence MTRoA (Android), and MTRoW (Windows).

 

 

Where are we now?

As we’ve touched on already, at the initial release there were a number of features and capabilities that the Android-based solution was lacking that, in my opinion, made them a non-contender. For starters, the interface on the tabletop touch controller was not fit for purpose. If you wanted to join a scheduled meeting, it wasn’t too bad, but if you wanted to set up an ad-hoc meeting and search for users? There was no on console keyboard: instead, you would use up-down-left-right arrows to select letters from a keyboard that appeared on the front of the room screen (similar to entering in a text string on your TV at home with a remote, but more difficult) – just not good enough for an enterprise-ready meeting room solution. The single screen was also the only option on release, not such an issue for smaller spaces but something that would not wash well in larger spaces. Finally, the lack of HDMI ingress to support content sharing from a laptop, or to allow the integration of a 3rd party content sharing solution (from organisation like Barco, Crestron, etc) was also not great.

The good news is that Microsoft has been working hard on these shortcomings, and at the time of writing we now have a much-improved meeting room touch console experience (very similar to the Windows-based MTR touch screen experience), and we now have dual screen support. HDMI content sharing is still on its way but is slated for release this month (June 2021), so here’s hoping that’s still on track also.

So, compared to where we were only a handful of months ago, Android Based solutions are much more desirable. Here’s an up to date comparison (at the time of writing anyway):

 

Feature

MTR on Windows

MTR on Android

More Info

OS Windows 10 Android
Front of Room Displays Single\Dual Single\Dual Dual if the device supports it
Video Resolution 1080p 720p  
Direct Guest Join (Zoom\Webex) Yes No On the roadmap, no ETA at this stage
Centre of Room Meeting Console Support Yes Yes
Whiteboard Yes Yes
Content Camera Support Yes No Not on the roadmap
Pin Video in Meetings Yes Yes
Spotlight Video in Meetings Yes No  
Roster Control Yes Yes
Personal Mode No Yes
HDMI Content Sharing Yes No Roadmap – slated for June 2021 release
Raise Hand Yes Yes  
MTR Premium Management Yes No Roadmap – slated for December 2021 release
Modular Solution Yes No Coming soon (see below)

 

Do keep in mind through, if you want any of the features outlined above that are highlighted red, for now you will need to use Windows based MTR solutions. HDMI shouldn’t be too far away, but if you want to join Zoom or Webex meetings from your Microsoft Teams room system, Windows is the only option today. It has been announced on the roadmap that it’s coming to Android, but not here just yet.

 

Modular Approaches

One other major differentiator between Windows based MTR solutions and Android has been the overall form factor. When initially released as Collaboration Bars, Android based solution where precisely that: a bar. The Android compute was built into the device, with no flexibility to use a different camera, 3rd party systems for speakers or microphones, etc. All you had to work with was a bar, suitable for smaller spaces only:

Whilst not available just yet, we are on the cusp of having solutions available that move away from this all-in-one-bar approach. Logitech RoomMate is one of the first modular Android compute solutions that will be available, which will allow you to deploy an Android-based solution into a larger space and pair it with a range of USB peripherals:

 

Poly is also working on a unique Android-based solution, with the Poly G7500 series codec also soon to be certified as a Teams Android device that can be used with separate peripherals:

 

What’s unique about this? Well, if you’re one of the many organisations that invested in Poly(com) Group series codecs to support Skype for Business meetings, this provides you with an upgrade path: simply swap out your Group codec for a G7500, and away you go. The G7500 is backward compatible with Group series cameras and mics (requires walta to IP converter for mics) so simply swap out the codec and turn your space into a Teams native space.

Both of these options should be available soon.

 

So What Should I Choose?

When deciding on what is the right solution for your meeting room or collaboration spaces, it’s important to start at your requirements. Before Android devices came onto the scene, we had an initial decision point: traditional video conferencing space or collaboration space? If the answer was a need for a more traditional video conferencing experience, Microsoft Teams Room (on Windows) solutions would meet these requirements. On the other hand, if collaboration was higher on the list, Surface Hub might be a better alternative.

Adding Android based Microsoft Teams Room solutions to the mix does mean that there’s an additional decision point, and given that we are not yet at feature parity between Windows and Android based approaches, knowing your requirements is key before making a decision. Use the table provided above to check to make sure you can do what you need to do on your chosen meeting room platform, and more important than anything else, talk to a Microsoft Partner that has a good understanding of what’s on the market, and what’s just around the corner – decisions you make now will have far reaching consequences.

 

Final Thoughts

Microsoft’s MTRoA offering is rapidly evolving, and they are not just for small\huddle spaces any longer. That said, we’re still waiting on some key features, so for now I don’t expect Windows-based solutions to be going anywhere in the short to medium term. If you want to know what’s on the roadmap, keep an eye on aka.ms/mtrroadmap – here you’ll find the most up-to-date list of what’s coming, and what’s been released to the public.

 

References

Microsoft Teams Room Windows and Android – what’s the difference? | OD437 – YouTube

Some differences with MTR Android and Windows | Graham Walsh [ Blog ] (graham-walsh.com)

Microsoft 365 Roadmap | Microsoft 365

 

 

Roland Paix

Inside Insync – Roland Paix

Today we meet: 

Roland Paix, Senior Consultant

Time with Insync: January 2016

Previous notable time in IT industry/customer/vendor: Been working in IT since 1998.  My first job in IT was with a record company in London.  Poor pay was far outweighed by the perks!

What are your best skills for your role?

An ability to think through scenarios to identify impacts and outcomes.

Attention to detail and good communication.

What do you like about your role? 

Working with great people and getting my head around complex environments so that I can provide the right solution.

What trends are you seeing with customers? 

The desire for simplification; to get out of complex infrastructure and into the cloud.

Companies want to make it easy for their staff to work from anywhere while at the same time having better security than they’ve ever had before.

What do you think about the opportunity for Teams for customers?  

It’s a way for them to redefine how they work; for them to move into modern communications and collaboration and away from traditional siloed apps.

Where have you used Insync core values in Insync everyday work life:

In a recent project a client wanted to do a lot of the work themselves.  Rather than leave them to it to struggle and potentially fail, I went the extra 1.6 kms to make sure they had all the info they needed and pointed out things they might otherwise have missed.  The project went smoothly and everything fell into place.


 

What do you like to do in your downtime?

In winter I go mountain biking as often as I can.  I read a lot of books and love watching movies.

I do volunteer assisting with Landmark Education programs which is very fulfilling.

 

Gabriele Marozza

Inside Insync – Gabriele Marozza

Today we meet: 

Gabriele Marozza

Consultant

Time with Insync: January 2020

Previous notable time in IT industry/customer/vendor: 25 years in the IT Financial and Insurance Sector

What are your best skills for your role?

All-round “Jack of all Trades”.

What do you like about your role? 

Direct interaction with vendors, customers, and exposure to technology.

What trends are you seeing with customers? 

Outsourcing their IT services, cloud provision oriented, becoming more decentralised with their operations and ways of working.

What do you think about the opportunity for Teams for customers?  

Endless! How far do you want to go? It is such a great way to work and collaborate!

Where have you used Insync core values in Insync everyday work life:

The IT landscape is changing so rapidly that to pretend to be an expert in the Subject and “know it all” is unrealistic so I tend to inform our customers that if I don’t know, happens often nowadays.…  I will make no excuses but rather work with the resources internally at Insync Technology and with our Vendors to find the best fit for the customer.


 

What do you like to do in your downtime?

Spare time! What spare time?  LOL …

I am a big motorsports fan so anything with speed, whether it be with 2 or 4 wheels. I’m also a big fan of football, the real football (round ball). And with 3 boys heavy into sports I’m always in the thick of it! Oh and I do enjoy a good bourbon or a glass of red…

 

Change management with Nulia

Drive lasting change with Nulia

By Stuart Moore

Sometimes, in large technology projects, it isn’t the technology that needs attention – it’s the people factor. People are notoriously adverse to change, and there are any number of models that describe an organisational change or technology change process (Prosci’s ADKAR, Kübler-Ross, many others) that provide guidance and a framework for implementing change.

One of the key concerns in a modern workforce is the ability for skills change and skills uplift across an organisation. Whereas maybe 5-10 years ago, CEOs, CFOs and COOs were all about profit and maximising the bottom line – more recently there has been more focus on the people of an organisation and how to attract & retain key talent and increase their people’s skills to compete more effectively in an increasingly globalised economy. This is where any technology change has impacts – ensuring staff can do their jobs efficiently and effectively using the tools provided for them, where they can conduct impactful work and be fulfilled and then leave work behind at the end of the day. Toolsets provided by organisations such as Microsoft 365 and the Office suite are typically used within small to medium businesses through to enterprises and governments across the world. Using these products and services on a daily basis is critical to getting work done for millions if not billions of people worldwide.

A key challenge when deploying these toolsets is the digital skills of an organisation’s workforce – what is the point of giving them high productivity tools if they cannot use them effectively to gain an advantage? This is where Nulia comes in as a way to distribute, manage and measure your workforce’s digital skillset across the Microsoft productivity platforms.

Nulia is a way for your IT and HR teams to gauge the organisations skills, provide customised opt-in training and author challenges for your organisation to take part in – all with the goal of raising digital dexterity across the organisation and driving more value out a Microsoft investment. Nulia also provides the ability to build collections of digital skills in a bundle named “Outcome” and this might be something like “Collaborating with your Team”. This would bring together various digital skills across Microsoft Teams, Outlook and SharePoint to guide, train and measure users on how to best get the Outcome. This can then be measured across the organisation and dashboards are available to HR business partners and ICT leaders to then look at trends, insights in particular areas, or see areas that need attention and more personalised / contextual training.

Users are also encouraged to build their skills via informative weekly digests – they can schedule some training enablement or look to further their skills through interactive guides. This then updates their skill levels and skills points – enabling gamification and ‘badging’ of users that have achieved certain skill levels. There is also varying levels – you can’t expect everyone in the organisation to be a Master at some skills – they really need what they need to do their job and nothing more – and Nulia provides targeted skilling based on what the user really needs to know to perform their roles.

Nulia on its own is a great digital enablement tool, and at Insync Technology, we have taken it a step further by integrating it with our Champions Programs and guided Adoption programs. This helps to add additional context and guidance, by providing more business-specific scenarios and outcomes and as a result, drive lasting change. It might be suitable to an organisation that has a reasonable level of digital dexterity already and is chasing further gains. Nulia can be procured in either manner – suited to the expectations of our customers. Nulia is also fully integrated with Microsoft Azure Active Directory – ensuring secure and compliant access and can also be embedded into Teams as an application.

If you’ve got colleagues and the exec team concerned with digital skilling and how to enable this across your organisation – get in touch for a demo & walkthrough!

Your IT infrastructure is the backbone of your business – make sure you secure it

In our recent article, Your devices are an entry point for hackers, it’s time to pull up the metaphorical drawbridgewe focused on the security measures you can take to protect your business via good device management. But what about your IT infrastructure itself? How do you secure the nervous system of your organisation? When research indicates only 5% of organisations’ data are properly protected, there are important questions to ask.  

 

What do we mean by IT infrastructure? 

The IT infrastructure of an organisation comprises of all server and network components. In short, your infrastructure is a collection of building blocks that make up the apps and solutions staff use to deliver services. Before public and private cloud, IT infrastructure was somewhat simpler as it was generally centralised within an on-premises environment and protected with various network security elements. It was relatively straightforward to keep the bad guys out. It was a reasonably simple gatekeeper system that controlled access in and out.   

Now, in the era of Cloud, the building blocks that make up your IT infrastructure are not neatly housed in one place, meaning the traditional methods of security cannot be applied in the same way. But a lot of the thinking around security is still the same, essentially that you want to create a boundary around your assets. 

“You can’t apply old, traditional thinking when your IT infrastructure extends beyond the corporate network. You have people accessing information from anywhere and using any device, all creating connection points to the corporate network but from areas of reduced control. We need to use the same security principles but apply them differently,” says Russell Kowald, Principal Consultant, Insync Technology. 

 

How do you protect your infrastructure properly? 

According to Russell there are five key considerations to address when securing your IT infrastructure. 

      1. Ongoing patchingPatching takes time and effort but it is crucial to staying secure. A core task for an IT team is to ensure all organisation IT is patched and up to date. 

“Patching is the bread and butter of IT security, but it is crucial now more than ever in light of situations like the zero-day vulnerability exploits we have seen recently with Microsoft Exchange. Ensuring you are protected by patching known exploits is really a no-brainer,” notes Russell.  

      2. Supportability & capabilityWhere IT was once hardware driven, a lot of infrastructure services now come from software and code. To protect this, you need to ensure that you are looking after and managing access to various cloud platforms and other line of business applications that may or may not reside within your organisation. 

      3. Finding a balanceThere are a lot of security bells and whistles within Microsoft 365, and it can be tempting to light them all up, however Russell’s advice is to take the time to find the right balance.

“You need to make sure you are appropriately secure but also still able to operate and execute core tasks. Some default settings might be right for you whilst others will need some rejigging to ensure they fulfil their intended purpose,” says Russell. 

      4. HardeningMuch like patching, hardening infrastructure is an ongoing process that has to be done to reduce or eliminate security threats.

“There are some good resources available to understand best practice when it comes to hardening. With the use of public cloud, we have unparalleled visibility into our cloud assets and infrastructure, meaning it is easier to harder than an on-premises infrastructure. In addition, the Australian Signals Directorate’s Information Security Manual provides a good framework and guidelines to follow in this respect.” advises Russell.  

      5. MonitoringUnderstanding what is happening within your infrastructure is crucial to protecting it. By monitoring it regularly and running checks, you can prevent hackers who might achieve a foothold via a less privileged user from building up their privileges and posing serious threat to your organisation.   

“Monitoring is not as simple as it sounds. You need to look at what and how everything is integrated and what talks to what within your infrastructure. To identify warning signs, you need to monitor how something is, or could be, compromised and what the knock-on effect is. Azure Sentinel is a good tool for monitoring as it provides holistic views and log analytics from your infrastructure wherever it lives,” says Russell.  

These five considerations can help guide you but, to be successful, Russell’s recommendation is to try to shift your mindset.  

“When it comes to infrastructure, it doesn’t work to have a fixed checklist of what to look for, you need to be more open-minded. A lot of security comes from thinking about the ‘what ifs’. For example, what if there is an outage, what will the security impacts be and what will the knock-on effects on the broader business be?” adds Russell.  

 

The benefits of Cloud security  

Whilst the process of securing a Cloud based infrastructure might be more challenging than its on-premises predecessor, it is worthwhile doing in order to reap the benefits.  

Deploying cloud-based solutions generally have built in security that requires you to do very little. You can reduce your need to patch with a cloud-based solution that automatically updates and has a short cadence for updates. Moving workloads to the cloud will level up your security, as long as you know what to check and where to look. Another advantage of using cloud-based security like what is in Microsoft 365 – is the ability to use immense scale and datapoints to make decisions – something that is unrealistic and undoable with on-premises infrastructure,” says Russell.  

“Ultimately, infrastructure security is one piece of a larger puzzle. On its own, infrastructure security isn’t enough. You need to think about how it links to device management and identity and environment management. If youinfrastructure is exposed, really it highlights a need to look at all four components,” concludes Russell.  

To ensure you are protected on every front, find out how Insync can help level up your security and protect your IT investment. Contact the team today.

 

Inside Insync - Sandy

Inside Insync – Sandy Catalucci

Today we meet: 

Sandy Catalucci

Lead Consultant for Adoption and Change Management

Time with Insync: June 2020

Previous notable time in IT industry/customer/vendor: I have worked for other Microsoft Partners such as Engage Squared and Empired as a lead consultant for Adoption and Change Management and have had the privilege of working with customers across all industries.

What are your best skills for your role?

Crafting strategies, facilitating and translating the technical into easily understood concepts for everyone.

What do you like about your role? 

Learning about Microsoft cloud-based technologies and passing on that knowledge to help customers navigate and better understand the modern workplace.

What trends are you seeing with customers? 

As customers are embedding the foundations of the modern workplace, we’re starting to revisit adoption and change management journeys to unlock more advanced ways of working throughout organisations.

Microsoft Teams is a digital transformation kick-starter. We’re talking about customisable workspaces providing integration with your entire Microsoft 365 suite of tools, increased productivity and collaboration with the ability to work on topics, projects, and operational activities, and all of this in a single application that is also your unified communications platform. If you haven’t implemented it yet, what are you waiting for?

Click here to read Sandy’s recent blog posts “Breaking tradition with Breakout Rooms”

Where have you used Insync core values in Insync everyday work life: 

can put my hand on my heart and say I live and breathe by our core values every day. My favourite is being open and honest as transparency is the key to building trust.


 

What do you like to do in your downtime?

Rollerblading and cycling along Brisbane’s beautiful river paths spotting cute dogs and encountering Brisbane’s wildlife such as scrub turkeys, possums, water dragons, curlews, and the odd bin chicken!

 

Rapid Circle acquires Insync Technology, as part of investment to become leading Microsoft cloud partner

Since Insync Technology first launched in 2013, there have been several milestones we are exceptionally proud of. Continuing to grow from strength-to-strength throughout the years including winning Microsoft Australia Partner Awards for customer impact in 2015 and 2017 and growing our business revenue to over 12 million.

In the past 8 years, we have grown significantly, from a three-man operation to a team of 45 people with permanent, established operations in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. In 2019 we built our first modern managed service VoiceX, a full cloud telephony solution designed to give freedom and flexibility to customers. During the past two years, we have grown a hub of successful brands and offerings including Guest Manager for M365, M365 Update, and M365 Manage.

We are dedicated to partnering with our customers to help them embrace modern workplace tools and technology to achieve their goals. Transforming businesses, schools, and governments is our passion and purpose. To do this, we hire specialists who share a strong alignment to our values –

 

 

Today we announced a new milestone in our journey. Melbourne-based and Dutch-founded Microsoft cloud specialist Rapid Circle has acquired Insync Technology. Combining Insync’s in-depth expertise on teamwork, security, calling and meeting room solutions with Rapid Circle’s expertise in business applications and cloud services, will strengthen Rapid Circle’s capability offerings for its growing mid-market and enterprise customer base in Australia.

The acquisition of Insync Technology represents the first step in Rapid Circle’s ambitious, acquisition-led growth strategy in the Australian market. The company plans to acquire further cloud specialist companies within the Microsoft ecosystem, as it sets out to achieve its goal of becoming Microsoft’s preeminent, full-service workplace capabilities partner.

Rapid Circle will add 45 staff to its local headcount through the acquisition of Insync Technology growing their business to 350 employees globally. Insync’s three founders will continue to play an active role in Rapid Circle’s day-to-day operations moving forward.

As the global Microsoft Teamwork Partner of the Year 2020, Rapid Circle counts household names such as Shell, Victorian Dept. of Premier and Cabinet, 1st Energy, and RMIT as customers, and will look to continue its expansion into government, education, financial services, and healthcare sectors across the country. According to Gartner, Inc., enterprise IT spending across all industry sectors in Australia will grow 3.6 percent to reach more than A$95.8 billion this year, with the local government, education, and healthcare sectors proving most resilient in technology spending in 2020.

Stewart Bairstow, Australian CEO of Rapid Circle, said: “Insync Technology brings a proven set of new expertise and will broaden our service portfolio to offer customers the best advice and solutions across the full range of Microsoft modern workplace technology. The acquisition of this key Microsoft partner signals the first step in Rapid Circle’s local growth plans and enhances our capability to help Australian organisations work digitally smarter and more efficiently.”

Mr. Bairstow added: “With the significant impact of COVID-19 and the increasing desire for workplace flexibility, it’s never been more important for Australian organisations to be digitally dexterous and capable. We are looking forward to bringing the capabilities of the Insync team to a wider market across Australia as well as internationally. Being part of a leading worldwide Microsoft Partner enables us to drive significant benefits for our staff and customers, as we help Microsoft drive adoption of cloud technology.”

Nathan Belling, General Manager of Insync Technology, said: “Becoming a part of Rapid Circle opens up incredible opportunities for myself, our staff, and our customers by adding capability and capacity in areas that are in high demand. By joining a company that has the same culture and similar Core Values is like a dream come true.“

When we started this business eight years ago, I had a vision of becoming a leading Microsoft Consulting business, attracting and retaining the best talent in the market, and delivering successful outcomes for our clients. This acquisition will allow us to provide customers and Microsoft with end-to-end modern workplace offerings, including business process optimisation with Power Platform, customer relationship management, and managed Azure Cloud services,” Mr. Belling continued.

What it implies for Insync

For all of us here at Insync, this is a game-changer, and an achievement we have all been working towards. It enables us to grow and expand organisation, create new offerings such as the Power Platform, Azure and extend development capabilities, adding to our strong Teams Calling and Meetings offerings and Security solutions.

What does it mean for Insync customers?

For all our clients, nothing changes a single bit, the support and project functions will continue as they do today. Insync customers will benefit from the global support and resources of Rapid Circle, including new expertise in Power Platform and Azure, as well as a global footprint for Teams experts.

 

“I am sure we will have challenges and opportunities in different measures coming up but if we can get here by ourselves in 8 years – we can meet the challenge of this next chapter.” – Stuart Moore

“We consistently bat well above our average and are known as non-nonsense Microsoft experts with depth. Our capability in the APAC region has not gone unnoticed and has led us all to this point. I am truly excited to be part of the next chapter for Insync Technology, and the opportunity it brings us all! – Damien Margaritis

 

Inside Insync – Youssef Qasem

Today we meet: 

Youssef Qasem

Consultant

Time with Insync: March 2020

Previous notable time in IT industry/customer/vendor: I’ve worked in the IT industry for the past 11 years. I began as a Service Desk Analyst in 2010 at ING, from there I worked as a Desktop Support Officer at ANZ Bank, then a Senior Support Engineer from 2012-2015 at Applaud IT. After Applaud I started at Big Air where I worked as a Systems Administrator for a year, before starting at Agilyx as a Cloud Engineer then Channel 7 as a Project Delivery Engineer before Insync Technology. 

What are your best skills for your role?

I have a Microsoft and Project Management background. Project Management was where I developed skills such as problem-solving, process improvement, and analytical skills which I have been able to apply to my current role at Insync. 

What do you like about your role? 

  • The variety of projects and customers
  • Learning about new Microsoft technologies, mostly cloud-based
  • Opportunity to improve my skills and room to study and complete Microsoft certificates

What trends are you seeing with customers? 

I think COVID changed a lot of our customer’s ways of working with more shifting to remote work. We are seeing a lot of core revival (cloud migration) and a strong desire to simplify processes through automation with more of our customers using out-of-the-box solutions rather than heavy customisation. A focus on security is another massive trend with more people working from home.

Where have you used Insync core values in Insync everyday work life: 

Make a call – I work on lots of different projects in which there can be changes to project scopes and timelines. I’ll often have to make a decision on what action is the most suitable.

Considering we are delivering new technologies, sometimes questions come from the customer that I don’t have the answer to yet, whether I as an individual or Insync in general, I’m always transparent with the customer and tell them I will get back to them.

I always help customers beyond the project scope if it’s something that would make us exceed the customer’s expectation, being a simple and not time-consuming task, that would reflect on the project progress and closure.


 

What do you like to do in your downtime?

Gym, Soccer, Beach, Travelling, Video Games.

 

Microsoft Exchange Server patch alert

Microsoft News for Exchange Server

Microsoft’s have released patches for multiple different on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server zero-day vulnerabilities that are being exploited by a nation-state affiliated group.

The vulnerabilities exist in on-premises Exchange Servers 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019.  Exchange Online is not affected. Specifically, to minimise or avoid the impacts of this situation, Microsoft highly recommends that you take immediate action to apply the patches for any on-premises Exchange deployments you have or are managing for a customer. The first priority being servers that are accessible from the Internet (e.g., servers publishing Outlook on the web/OWA and ECP).

To patch these vulnerabilities, you should move to the latest Exchange Cumulative Updates and then install the relevant security updates on each Exchange Server.

  • You can use the Exchange Server Health Checker script, which can be downloaded from GitHub (use the latest release).
  • Running this script will tell you if you are behind on your on-premises Exchange Server updates (note that the script does not support Exchange Server 2010).
  • We also recommend that your security team assess whether or not the vulnerabilities were being exploited by using the Indicators of Compromise we shared here.

Exchange patch information

If you have any questions, reach out to one of the Insync team via our contact us page.

 

 

Breaking traditions with Breakout Rooms

by Sandy Catalucci

Breakout rooms was a new feature introduced within Microsoft Teams Meetings in late 2020. Over the past few months at Insync Technology, we’ve been busy identifying use cases with our customers and happily stumbling across our own use cases for using the breakout room feature within a Microsoft Teams Meeting. Here are a few examples –

Online university tutorials 

Insync Technology is working with a university that has shifted its entire schools to an online delivery model –  including all of its weekly tutorials. During the tutorials, some lecturers are using breakout rooms to split students into working groups to identify problems and discuss solutions together in an online setting. When the exercise is over, the lecturer closes the breakout rooms and students return to the main tutorial session to discuss the allocated problem and the solutions they came up with. The advantage of using breakout rooms within a Microsoft Teams Meeting is that it enables students to make new connections in a way similar to a traditional lecture format that they have not been able to do so since the course has been shifted to an online setting.

 

University breakout room

 

Assigning a buddy to work within our M365 Champion Program

As part of our Microsoft 365 Champion Program, participants are matched with a ‘buddy’ to work through a series of activities to test their knowledge and skill level with applications in the Microsoft 365 suite of tools. We’ve adjusted our program to utilise the breakout room feature when we kick off this session where participants are randomly split into groups of two. We then allow time for participants to meet and introduce themselves and work on their first activity together as an icebreaker.

Introducing breakout rooms to the champion program has been a great way to manage the session online and also a great opportunity to demonstrate the feature in a contextual and interactive way that enables participants to experience it for themselves.

 

buddy breakout room example

 

Online trivia and games session

Like most organisations across the world, we’ve navigated multiple lock downs and the adjustment of increased remote working due to COVID-19. To maintain positive morale, our Happiness Coordinator, Emma Schellhorn (yes we have one of those) organised a fun olympic session. This began with the arrival of a care package full of delicious treats and instructions to join a Teams Meeting.

We were split into manually created breakout rooms to meet our triva team mates and strategise who would tackle each challenge. We were then called back to the main room to start the first round team challenges. Some of these hilarious activities involved designated team mates racing against a time clock to see who can put on seven tshirts in the quickest time frame to other designated team mates standing in the room balancing books on their head.

Another social activity we held was a trivia afternoon. For trivia challenges, we broke into our designated teams via breakout rooms to answer a list of questions. Breakout rooms allowed team mates to huddle and come up with their team name, and to collectively agree on answers to triva questions. The Format would not have been possible without the breakout room feature!

 

games room breakout