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Platinum Sponsors of the SharePoint Saturday Los Angeles 2019

General Networks is the Platinum sponsor of this year’s SharePoint Saturday Los Angeles happening on September 28, 2019. SharePoint Saturday is a free event for the SharePoint and Office 365 community and offers attendees learning and networking opportunities. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

SharePoint experts from around the country will be in attendance to share their expertise through sessions that focus on Office 365, SharePoint, OneDrive, Azure, and other products in the Microsoft technology stack, including PowerApps and Flow.

At the event, General Networks’ Biz Apps Solutions Manager, Qais Gharib, will be doing a presentation on a solution that enables you to print list data to a PDF from a PowerApp form. Come and meet him, along with a few other General Networks’ team members.

General Networks will have a sponsorship table at the event. Please stop by to learn more about our SharePoint/O365 service offerings including intranet deployments, platform migrations and upgrades, and forms/workflow solutions.

SharePoint Saturday Los Angeles is a free event, but be sure to register online

We look forward to seeing you in September!

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Microsoft Announces Skype for Business End of Life

Below is the official announcement that Skype for Business will be “retired” in July of 2021.  The newer and more feature rich Teams is replacing Skype for Business.  Skype (the free consumer app) will not be affected by this announcement.

At General Networks we have migrated ourselves and many customers to Teams and the transition is pretty straight forward.  Because Teams is a different interface to the same (mostly) features, some user training is required.  We have conducted many user training sessions for our clients and the Skype features take just a few minutes to go over.  Most of the training ends up focusing on the new features of Teams.

So what’s still missing from Teams that Skype for Business has?

1)     Skype has support for multiple windows and Teams operates in a single window.  There are workarounds but sometimes multiple windows are really what’s needed.
2)     Skype for Business can message with the consumer Skype.  Teams can not yet.

There are other minor things (mostly in the administration of Teams) but those are convenience issues not functional issues.  Microsoft says they are working on solving both the the above issues.  Teams, having so many features, has more “bugs” then the older Skype for Business.  We will update this blog with more information as it becomes available.

 

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PowerApps in a Day – Free Training Workshop

In partnership with Microsoft, General Networks will be leading two free App in a Day (AIAD) workshops in Southern California.

These free workshops provide IT and business decision-makers with the skills to build great business apps using Microsoft PowerApps without writing code.

app in a day - irvine ca                             app in a day - los angeles ca

Why Attend?

As a business leader, it’s now necessary to react quickly to the changing market without becoming dependent on developing a static software solution. You need the ability to build a solution that quickly addresses your business needs. With the Microsoft Power Platform, you can build numerous business apps without writing code.

Benefits of PowerApps

  • Digitize business processes, work more efficiently and become more paperless
    With PowerApps, you will enable power-users in line of business roles to easily build and deploy custom business apps in both Canvas and Model-driven style of apps.
  • Easily connect all your applications and share data
    With Common Data Service for Apps, you can easily bring your data together and quickly create powerful apps using a compliant and scalable data service and app platform integrated right into PowerApps.
  • Automate and optimize your business processes
    Finally, with Microsoft Flow as your business service, your line of business specialists and IT pros can build automated workflows intuitively.

At the end of the training workshop, you will be able to:

  • Create custom business applications without writing code.
  • Learn how to build sophisticated business processes and complex data relationships within your applications.
  • Learn how to connect your app to a variety of data sources to bring it to life.
  • Share your apps inside your organization securely.

Who Should Attend?

IT and Business Leaders who:

  • Are currently evaluating the Power Platform for solutions in the next 3-6 months
  • Seek to understand the value of PowerApps, Flow and CDS for Applications
  • Have deployed the Power Platform and are seeking guidance/training
  • Would like to connect with an experienced PowerApps Partner in Southern CA

About App in a Day (AIAD) Workshops

General Networks will be conducting the App in a Day workshops at the Microsoft offices in Irvine, CA on September 9th and in Los Angeles on September 23rd.  These free events run from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.  Limited to 60 attendees, each AIAD workshop is an interactive, hands-on lab-style training event.  You bring your device and we supply the materials, training, and lunch.

Register Now:

For more information on the App in a Day event or to discuss customized PowerApps training or services for your organization, please contact Cathy Ashbaugh at cashbaugh@gennet.com


General Networks is a Microsoft Gold Partner, specializing and certified in PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, https://gennet.com/powerapps-consulting-services/

Microsoft Gold Partner

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Making Security Easy – Get Rid of Passwords

The security landscape has changed

The truth to security is: Passwords alone can no longer protect your data.  If your not using a multi-layer security system your going to get hacked sooner or later.  I think everyone has heard that getting hacked can be extremely expensive.  But, are you aware that it is also currently one of the leading causes of business failure.

What can be done?

The first step is to deploy Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to your login accounts controlling email, financial and file systems.   While no security system is perfect, MFA raises the bar on protecting your system.

The next step is to deploy Single Sign On (SSO).  SSO makes life easy for employees as they can use a single sign-on to login in to all of your organizations resources.

Education of “social engineering” attacks and other current risk is important.  Everyone that touches your organizations data needs to know how they fit in to keeping the system secure.

And our final recommendation:

Get rid of passwords

Replace passwords with facial recognition or fingerprint readers.  This gets rid of the need to remember complex passwords, password management software and re-using the same password over and over.  Suddenly security becomes easy for everyone.  No more forgotten passwords,

Let us help you make the transition easy

General Networks can help you deploy the right set of technology services that meats your security requirements and your budget.

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​Inspiration for your Modern SharePoint Intranet – The SharePoint Look Book Delivers!

 

As a Microsoft Gold Partner and implementer of SharePoint intranets, we routinely encounter organizations struggling to visualize a great intranet experience in SharePoint.  Many are used to older versions of SharePoint and are turned off by the thought of the bland, text-heavy sites of the past.  Others are altogether new to SharePoint Online through Office 365 and have never had a centralized site for communicating and interacting with their staff.  Where to start? 

As employee engagement becomes a top priority and remote workers are becoming the norm, most leaders recognize the need to provide an intranet site – a place where employees can get the tools and resources they need, stay informed on company news, access a company directory and in general, feel connected to the whole.  SharePoint is a natural for intranets and offers a wide variety of templates to get you started  intranet home pages,  Modern Communication sites, Team sites, Hub sites and more – but how do you deliver something that is both useful and visually stunning?  Something that represents your brand.  How can you see well-designed intranets when these sites are proprietary and generally not publicly available?   

Enter the SharePoint Look Book! 

 

If you are familiar with a “lookbook” in the fashion industry, you know that a lookbook is a collection of creative photographs designed to show off a brand’s style and inspire customers to imagine how they might assemble the various pieces of the collection to create a unique look that fits their vision.  With the SharePoint Look Book, Microsoft does the same for customers seeking to explore what and how they can deliver to their users, based on their unique scenarios and uses cases.  Seeking to inform and engage your staff?  You’ll find examples in the Look Book, complete with page layouts for Modern Communication sites.  Collaboration is your goal?  Check out the Team site examples for working with groups inside and outside of your organization, including details on which webparts were used to create the site. 

Check out the SharePoint Look Book Here 

 

At General Networks, an important component of our intranet deployment approach is to work with your stakeholders to understand your goals for the site and your vision for the user experience.  We provide guidance on what components you’ll need, best practices for utilizing them, and how to take full advantage of what SharePoint offers outofthebox – keeping your costs in check.  We consult on how to build a solid information architecture and framework that is easily maintained and extensible as your usage of the site expands  With the SharePoint Look Book handy, your team can quickly get up to speed on the various template options, page layouts, features they may not have known were available and most importantly, get inspired with beautiful designs in Modern SharePoint sites! The Look Book helps you help your staff better understand what the organization is seeking to achieve, fostering more input, excitement and engagement on the project, which ultimately leads to a well-defined design.  We’ll then take your unique vision and create mockups, wireframes and prototypes for your review and discussion.  Once we have the design locked down, we develop the site, work with your users to test the functionality and provide Quick Guides for both administrators and users of the site to add and maintain content. 

 

Are you inspired?  Ready to give your employees the tools they need to be efficient, connected and inspired?  Contact Cathy Ashbaughcashbaugh@gennet.com to discuss how we can help you bring your vision to life!   

 

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Microsoft Updates Outlook for the Web: Adding AI and Other New Features

New Features Coming to OWA to Compete with Gmail

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Faster with “Modern Experience” for both email and calendar are the main changes.  But there is a lot under the covers.  A dark mode is coming (as displayed) too.  A snooze feature that will make a message as “unread” at a later date and put it at the top of your inbox.  A button to convert an email into a meeting.  And more…

Microsoft adds AI features.  Including one that will suggest potential attachments you might want to include.

Teams integration is also being added.

Look for the updates to start rolling out in late July.

 

Reference Article From CNET: Microsoft’s new-look web Outlook takes on Gmail: Dark mode plus these new features

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General Networks Named a Top Business Services Company by Clutch for 2019!

General Networks is proud to announce that we have been named as one of the top providers of business services in the world by Clutch! We are also excited to say that we have been doing well in a few of Clutch’s more competitive categories, their rankings of the best Microsoft Office 365 consultants, Microsoft SharePoint consultants, and OpenText ECM consultants.

We deliver technology consulting services for customers who need to manage and process critical business content. We bring together business strategy, specialized application expertise, and creative and technology professionals to solve business problems. We help our clients create effective solutions for automating any document intensive business process, from simple electronic libraries to complex document assembly and workflow. Our depth of experience reduces the time and risk of implementing IT solutions.

Clutch takes its reviews seriously, conducting phone interviews with a company’s past clients and getting honest feedback on the quality of their work. These reviews can all be found on our Clutch reviews page, but we wanted to include some of the nice things our clients have said about us here.

“I appreciate their ability to summarize information and suggest actionable solutions.” – IT Director, Research Center

“They are very professional, knowledgeable, and friendly and easy to work with. We’re very happy that we found them.” – Administrator, CF Kent

“General Networks’ responsiveness and accessibility sets them apart; we’ve had a harder time getting prompt support from other providers.” – Vice President, Real Estate Firm

We were also ranked as one of the best ECM consultants by Clutch’s sister site, The Manifest. We were featured for an email migration we performed for a large scale research group in California.

We are honored to receive this recognition. We do everything we can to help our clients succeed, and knowing that they appreciate our work so much is incredible. We will continue to improve and innovate, always keeping our clients ahead of the curve.

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Microsoft Office Deployment Just Got Easier!

The Office Configuration Tool can use configs saved in your Office 365 portal.

This new feature makes deployment of Office so much easier!  Not more XML files to manage.  Just setup your configuration and deploy from a URL on the Office Configuration Tool’s command line.

Here is how!  Be sure to watch the YouTube video that walks you through deploying Office via the cloud!

Contact General Networks and we can help you set this up so you can deploy Office faster than ever!

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[Policy Template] Should Failing Phishing Tests Be a Fireable Offense?

Thanks to KnowBe4 for this great policy tip!

Firing employees for failing phishing tests can be extremely counterproductive and can damage an organization’s overall security posture. That, at any rate, is what two security experts told Brian Krebs recently, and we agree with them.

Companies sometimes think punitive policies will make employees take phishing more seriously, but these policies actually discourage cooperation and openness. It is much more productive to reward desired behavior.

John LaCour, founder and CTO of PhishLabs, told Krebs that punishment isn’t an effective response to failed phishing tests because it makes employees feel they’ve been manipulated.

“It really demotivates people, and it doesn’t really teach them anything about how to be more diligent about phishing attacks,” LaCour said. “Each phishing simulation program needs to be accompanied by a robust training program, where you teach employees what to do when they see something phishy. Otherwise, it just creates resentment among employees.”

Punishing Employees Has Negative Security Repercussions

In addition to creating an unhealthy work environment, punishing employees for failing phishing tests will have negative repercussions for your organization’s security. When an employee does fall for a phishing email, whether real or simulated, the most important thing they can do is report the incident so that the attack can be mitigated. Rohyt Belani, CEO of Cofense, said that organizations should have training programs that encourage employees to report failed phishing tests.

“So what happens a lot of times is a person may click on link in a real phishing email, and three seconds later realize, ‘Oops, I shouldn’t have clicked, let me report it anyway’,” Belani told Krebs. “But if that person knew there was a punitive angle to doing so, they’re more likely not to report it and to say, ‘You know what, I didn’t do it. Where’s the proof I clicked on the link?’”

LaCour says that positive reinforcement and recognition is a key element in improving employees’ phishing resistance. He said that posting the scores for each department’s phishing tests can make employees take the tests seriously and improve cooperation. He added that small rewards and lighthearted penalties, like having the lowest-scoring department buy lunch for everyone, can also help by making it feel like a good-natured competition.

An organization’s employees are its most important assets, and they need to be treated fairly and with respect. However, employees that are chronically click- happy become an active liability for your network security. New-school security awareness training can build a culture of security within your organization by providing education programs that are effective and make your employees feel valued.

Part of that fair treatment is a published security policy—which hundreds of organizations use today—to create a clean, clear, level playing field with known consequences for repeated click behavior. Here is a “find/replace” Policy Template Doc that you can use for your own organization:
https://blog.knowbe4.com/policy-template-should-failing-phishing-tests-be-a-fireable-offense

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On-Demand Webinar | Migrate to Office 365 or Upgrade to SharePoint 2019?

If you are currently running SharePoint 2010, 2013 or 2016 in your organization, you know you’ll need to plan your move forward.  

But to what version?  Continue with the on-premise route and upgrade to SharePoint Server 2019? Move to the cloud with SharePoint Online in Office 365?

As with any major decision, the answer is “it depends.” Some organizations have adopted a cloud-first strategy and will naturally focus on migrating to Office 365, looking forward to enjoying the latest features and accepting that some rework of their customized SharePoint solutions will be necessary. Others may have a corporate directive to retain highly sensitive or compliance-related content on-premise, making the decision to upgrade to SharePoint Server 2019 easy.  For most organizations running an older version of SharePoint the decision is more nuanced and requires analysis of the risks, rewards, and costs to make the final decision. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the pros and cons of SharePoint 2019 and Office 365, watch this on-demand webinar.

In the webinar, Joel Oleson, MVP reviews why your organization should:

  • Upgrade to SharePoint 2019
  • Migrate to Office 365 SharePoint Online
  • Consider Hybrid SharePoint 2019 and SharePoint Online

Ingrid Camill, our SharePoint Practice Manager, also provides insight on what to expect in the migration or upgrade process.

If you are an IT or business leader considering a SharePoint migration and want to begin to envision which path is best, this is one webinar you will want to watch!

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SPEAKERS

Joel Oleson
Joel Oleson
Microsoft MVP & Regional Director

ingrid camill
Ingrid Camill
SharePoint Practice Manager

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