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Copilot for Microsoft 365: How to prepare yourself

In Part 3 of our Copilot for Microsoft 365 spotlight series, Cloud Security Architect Neil du Plessis outlines the steps to take to prepare yourself for AI-powered productivity.

By Neil du Plessis | Cloud Security Architect, BUI

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an innovative tool that can transform how you work with computers. However, as with any new technology, it requires some preparation and adaptation on your part to ensure the most beneficial results in the long run.

Jared Spataro, the Corporate Vice President of Modern Work and Business Applications at Microsoft, once said that “becoming an AI-powered organisation doesn’t happen with the flip of a switch”. And he was right: you have to understand Copilot’s features and functionality before you can harness its full potential. Here are three important steps in the preparation journey.

1. Learn how to use Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Copilot is a powerful AI assistant that can help you with numerous tasks and activities in your Microsoft 365 apps, but it’s not a magic solution to every problem. You will need to learn how to use Copilot effectively – by composing clear prompts, providing relevant details and parameters, and reviewing and refining outputs.

You’ll also need to explore the frameworks guiding and controlling Copilot so that you understand how data security policies, privacy policies, and responsible AI checks are applied. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available online, from technical documentation to in-depth tutorials and walkthroughs. You can also watch these introductory videos to see how Copilot for Microsoft 365 works:

Carmen Zlateff, Microsoft Windows vice president, explains how Windows 11 and Copilot work together during her presentation on stage at the Microsoft Copilot event in New York City in September 2023. Image credit: Microsoft

2. Develop your prompt engineering and critical thinking skills.

Even though Copilot can help you augment your capabilities, it’s no substitute for your unique human intelligence. Remember that Copilot uses generative artificial intelligence to draft responses to your prompts, providing an output based on your input.

A well-structured, specific prompt with appropriate context will yield a more accurate result than a vague query. If you take the time to develop your prompt engineering skills and evaluate, analyse, and even interrogate Copilot’s output, you’ll be better prepared to use the tool properly.

It’s also essential to apply your professional judgement, ethical standards, and niche industry or domain knowledge to your tasks and projects with Copilot. After all, the tool doesn’t have the benefit of your personal experience, expertise, or emotion.

3. Keep practising – and find a community of Copilot for Microsoft 365 users.

Copilot is designed to be your digital assistant. Your AI sidekick. Your know-a-lot companion in Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Teams, and Word. But there will be a learning curve at the beginning – for you and the tool.

Because Copilot learns from context and adapts over time, it may not generate perfect responses to your queries from the start. You’ll need to experiment with different prompts and fine-tune your inputs to get high-quality outputs, so keep practising.

It’s also a good idea to join an online forum or community group of fellow Copilot users in your industry to take advantage of their shared knowledge, resources, and tips for success. The Copilot for Microsoft 365 community on the Microsoft Tech Community website is filled with news updates, event details, and discussions related to Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Learning how to use Copilot effectively, developing your prompt engineering and critical thinking skills, and tapping into the knowledge of fellow Copilot users can help you prepare for a new world of work with this AI-powered helper by your side.

BUI Cloud Security Architect Neil du Plessis is a certified CISSP and Microsoft Cybersecurity Expert specialising in holistic, cloud-powered defences for modern workplaces.

Wondering if Copilot for Microsoft 365 is right for your organisation? Join the BUI team for an interactive workshop and we’ll assess your Copilot for Microsoft 365 readiness and define a road map for your adoption journey. The workshop is conducted virtually, and is suitable for senior business development managers, line-of-business leaders, managers, technical decision-makers, and end-users. Register your interest by completing this digital form and we’ll contact you directly.

Copilot for Microsoft 365: AI to help you work smarter

In Part 2 of our Copilot for Microsoft 365 spotlight series, Cloud Security Architect Neil du Plessis reveals how this AI-powered assistant can help you be more creative and productive.

By Neil du Plessis | Cloud Security Architect, BUI

More than three-quarters of early users said that once they tried Copilot for Microsoft 365, they didn’t want to give it up. Why? Because having this AI-powered assistant as their workplace aide helped them to save time, unleash their creativity, enhance their skills, and unlock the full potential of their favourite Microsoft 365 apps.

In the Work Trend Index Special Report published by Microsoft last year, the same early users said that Copilot for Microsoft 365 empowered them to do more – and do it more efficiently than before. From creating presentations in PowerPoint to managing emails in Outlook, Copilot helped them achieve their goals.

But how exactly can Copilot for Microsoft 365 help you and your teams? How can you take advantage of this technology in your business right now? Let’s explore three everyday use cases for Copilot for Microsoft 365 in the modern workplace.

1. Copilot can help you write better and faster.

Whether you need to write a blog post, a newsletter, a proposal, or a summary, Copilot can help you with the creative process.

You can tell Copilot to draft an outline, a title, a hook, or a conclusion for your document based on your topic and purpose. You can get Copilot to check your grammar and spelling and edit, rewrite, or paraphrase your text to improve the tone, style, and clarity.

You can also direct Copilot to help you with formatting, referencing, and citing your sources so that your entire document is eye-catching, precise, and correctly attributed.

With Copilot as your co-creator, you can speed up the writing process and craft compelling content that meets your needs. Watch these videos for a closer look at what’s possible with Copilot in Word.

BUI_SA_M365_Copilot_Blog_2_Designer
With the Designer integration in Copilot in Word, it’s easy to bring your ideas to life with eye-catching visuals that match the text in your document. Image credit: Microsoft

2. Copilot can help you analyse and visualise data.

Whether you need to work with numbers, charts, tables, or graphs, Copilot can help you with data analysis and presentation.

You can get Copilot to perform calculations, apply formulas, filter data, or create pivot tables in Excel, based on your data set and goal.

You can ask Copilot to help you interpret and make sense of your data by providing summaries, trends, or insights in natural language.

You can also use Copilot to generate charts and graphs so that you can visualise your data, highlight relevant information, and vividly present your findings.

With Copilot by your side in Excel, you can enhance the way you work with and analyse data. Watch these videos to see how Copilot filters, formats, and reviews data.

3. Copilot can help you manage and organise tasks.

Whether you need to plan a project, schedule a meeting, or follow up on an email, Copilot can help you with task management and day-to-day organisation.

You can ask Copilot to create a project plan, a timeline, or a checklist in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, based on your project scope and deliverables.

You can instruct Copilot to schedule a meeting, send an invitation to your chosen attendees, and create an agenda to match the meeting topic – all from within Outlook or Teams.

You can also get Copilot to help you respond to emails, create tasks, and set reminders in Outlook or Teams, based on your email content and priorities.

With Copilot as your digital assistant, you can stay on top of your tasks and organise your calendar more efficiently. Watch these videos for an overview of Copilot’s functionality in Outlook and Teams.

Real-time intelligent assistance from Copilot for Microsoft 365 enables people to work more creatively and productively. More than 80% of surveyed users said Copilot makes it easier to get started on a first draft; take action after a meeting; and catch up on what they missed. More than 70% said Copilot helped them complete work faster and save time on mundane tasks. And 68% said Copilot improved the quality of their work.

Going forward, those who embrace Copilot for Microsoft 365 as an ally at work and take the time to build new digital habits will benefit the most from this powerful technology.

BUI Cloud Security Architect Neil du Plessis is a certified CISSP and Microsoft Cybersecurity Expert specialising in holistic, cloud-powered defences for modern workplaces.

Wondering if Copilot for Microsoft 365 is right for your organisation? Join the BUI team for an interactive workshop and we’ll assess your Copilot for Microsoft 365 readiness and define a road map for your adoption journey. The workshop is conducted virtually, and is suitable for senior business development managers, line-of-business leaders, managers, technical decision-makers, and end-users. Register your interest by completing this digital form and we’ll contact you directly.

Copilot for Microsoft 365: Key news updates to know

In Part 1 of our Copilot for Microsoft 365 spotlight series, Cloud Security Architect Neil du Plessis unpacks the news you need to know about this AI-powered assistant for the modern workplace.

By Neil du Plessis | Cloud Security Architect, BUI

Copilot for Microsoft 365, the advanced AI assistant embedded in Microsoft 365 apps like PowerPoint and Word, made waves in workplaces worldwide after it was ANNOUNCED IN 2023.

The tool enables people to perform tasks and generate content using natural language commands and is ALREADY CONSIDERED A GAME-CHANGER for productivity and human-computer interaction, even as Microsoft continues to refine its capabilities and features.

So, what can we expect from this innovative technology going forward? Here are four important updates to know about Copilot for Microsoft 365.

1. Copilot for Microsoft 365 is now generally available to businesses of all sizes.

On 1 November last year, Microsoft made Copilot for Microsoft 365 available to Microsoft 365 customers on Enterprise plans. Since then, Microsoft has removed the Microsoft 365 prerequisite and minimum-purchase restrictions to expand its Copilot for Microsoft 365 licensing model to include enterprises using Office 365 E3/E5 and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

As of 15 January 2024, Enterprise customers (Office 365 E3, Office 365 E5, Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5) and Business customers (Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Microsoft 365 Business Premium) can purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 as an add-on to an existing subscription for $30 per user per month.

2. Copilot for Microsoft 365 will be supported in more languages and regions this year.

Initially, Copilot was only available in English for users based in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Today, it’s available in 36 regions across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia, and Microsoft is working hard to expand both audience and market reach.

In addition to English, Copilot for Microsoft 365 is supported in Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. Microsoft plans to support several more languages over the first half of 2024, including Arabic, Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft chairman and chief executive officer, speaks on stage at Skylight at Essex Crossing in New York City during the Microsoft Copilot event in September 2023. Image credit: Microsoft

3. Copilot for Microsoft 365 is now integrated with more apps and services.

Microsoft is enhancing the workplace value of Copilot for Microsoft 365 by adding new features and integrating it with more apps and services – both inside and outside of the Microsoft 365 suite. For example, Copilot works seamlessly with Loop and SharePoint, and is coming soon in Planner, OneNote, and Stream to allow users to access and manage files and tasks through natural language prompts and queries.

Copilot can also connect with third-party apps and services, including Salesforce, Jira, Dynamics 365, Bing Web Search, ServiceNow, and Zendesk, enabling users to perform actions and gather external information without leaving their current app.

Copilot can also leverage the power of the Microsoft Graph and third-party integrated applications like SQL and Confluence to provide users with personalised, contextual suggestions and insights based on their preferences, history, and activity.

4. Copilot for Microsoft 365 is becoming more accurate and reliable by the day.

Microsoft is committed to improving Copilot for Microsoft 365 so that it consistently produces relevant, high-quality output for users based on their prompts and context. To achieve this, Microsoft has been refining Copilot’s processing and orchestration engine, updating its Large Language Models, and gathering public and partner feedback through early access programmes, preview programmes, and dedicated community forums like the Copilot Feedback Hub, where users can share their observations, suggestions, and experiences with the tool.

These efforts continue to yield results: Copilot’s accuracy and reliability have improved significantly since launch; 70% of early users have reported increased personal productivity; and 77% of early users have said that once they used Copilot, they didn’t want to give it up.

With its expanded licensing model, broader language support, increased integration with apps and services, and improved accuracy and reliability, Copilot for Microsoft 365 is set to become a critical tool for businesses of all sizes.

As Microsoft further refines Copilot’s capabilities and features, we can expect this AI-powered assistant to revolutionise organisations everywhere by empowering people to do more with their favourite Microsoft 365 apps every day.

BUI Cloud Security Architect Neil du Plessis is a certified CISSP and Microsoft Cybersecurity Expert specialising in holistic, cloud-powered defences for modern workplaces.

Wondering if Copilot for Microsoft 365 is right for your organisation? Join the BUI team for an interactive workshop and we’ll assess your Copilot for Microsoft 365 readiness and define a road map for your adoption journey. The workshop is conducted virtually, and is suitable for senior business development managers, line-of-business leaders, managers, technical decision-makers, and end-users. Register your interest by completing this digital form and we’ll contact you directly.

Broadcom’s VMware takeover: Navigating turbulent waters

Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware warrants careful consideration by both VMware users and the broader technology community, writes BUI National Sales Manager Paul Wallett.

By Paul Wallett | National Sales Manager, BUI

Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware in November 2023 ignited a fierce debate within the technology community. While some applauded the $69-billion deal as a strategic move to streamline operations and simplify the virtualisation and cloud computing market, others voiced concern about its effects on VMware’s products and customers. In the short time since the takeover, there have been significant developments that VMware users and the IT industry now need to navigate.

Impact on VMware customers

I’ve used VMware solutions myself and have seen firsthand how they can enhance business efficiency, agility, and innovation through virtualisation and cloud technology. With products like VMware SD-WAN and VMware SASE consistently acknowledged for being reliable and able to cater to organisations with diverse infrastructure and operational requirements, it’s no surprise that VMware’s portfolio has been a popular choice for so many businesses and enterprises for so long.

However, since Broadcom assumed control of VMware, the VMware product landscape has been transformed, with two key announcements directly impacting existing customers.

Firstly, Broadcom’s introduction of a subscription-only model for most VMware products is a sea change for customers who have traditionally favoured perpetual licences. The shift eliminates the option of perpetual licences, potentially disrupting customers’ long-term investment planning and leading to higher costs in the form of recurring subscription fees.

Secondly, Broadcom’s decision to discontinue 56 standalone VMware products – including flagship offerings like vSphere, vSAN, and NSX – has roiled VMware customers worldwide. For countless organisations, these products are the backbone of core IT functions such as virtualisation, storage, and networking. Their discontinuation has left customers scrambling for alternatives and grappling with the gruelling task of migrating to other platforms.

Implications for the IT industry

Beyond the immediate concerns for customers, Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware has wide-ranging implications for the technology industry.

VMware’s virtualisation and cloud computing leadership fostered a vibrant ecosystem of partners, resellers, and service providers. However, Broadcom’s restructuring efforts – including the termination of partner agreements and the introduction of an invitation-only partner programme – have disrupted these relationships, causing waves of uncertainty within the IT industry.

Furthermore, Broadcom’s focus on maximising revenue from enterprise customers risks alienating loyal small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and managed service providers (MSPs). The transition to subscription-based licensing models and the discontinuation of key VMware products may impact SMBs and MSPs disproportionately, limiting their access to VMware’s technologies and services and prompting them to look elsewhere for similar IT solutions.

Charting a course for the future with BUI

As Broadcom continues to reshape VMware with streamlining initiatives and new product plans, customers will face more turbulent waters. Those who navigate the stormy conditions with care will emerge stronger. And fortunately, they don’t have to brave such challenges alone: BUI remains steadfast in its commitment to help people thrive in the evolving world of virtualisation and cloud computing.

From crafting tailored migration strategies to implementing robust cybersecurity measures and optimising network performance, BUI offers comprehensive solutions to enable performance and productivity in the digital era. Our expert technologists can provide the guidance and support that customers require as they adapt to Broadcom’s VMware changes.

If you’re wondering what’s next for your VMware technology stack, trying to make sense of the revamped licensing environment, or thinking about alternative virtualisation solutions, then contact BUI today. We can evaluate your IT setup, take stock of what you have and what you need, and identify the best resources for your particular goals. With a trusted technology partner like BUI on your side, you can confidently chart a course for the future and get back to business as usual.

BUI National Sales Manager Paul Wallett has 20+ years of experience in the technology industry and an extensive background in business development, sales management, and operations management.

BUI Announces Commitment to Respecting Data by Becoming a 2024 Data Privacy Week Champion

This year’s initiative emphasises educating businesses on data collection best practices that respect data privacy and promote transparency

BUI announced its commitment to Data Privacy Week 2024 by registering as a Champion. As a Champion, BUI recognises and supports the principle that all organisations share the responsibility of being conscientious stewards of personal information. Data Privacy Week is an annual expanded effort from Data Privacy Day – taking place from 21st – 27th of January 2024. The goal of Data Privacy Week is to spread awareness about online privacy among individuals and organisations. The goal is twofold: to help citizens understand that they have the power to manage their data and to help organisations understand why it is important that they respect their users’ data.

How To Prioritize Data Privacy With Your Customers

The US National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) recommends adopting the following market leading practices:

  • Be transparent about how you collect, use, and share consumers’ personal information.
  • Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used.
  • Design settings to protect their information by default.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization, as well as the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.

Engage the experts

Remember that most employees aren’t privacy or security experts. You will need to build in mechanisms that make it easy for them to report privacy and security concerns to your experts. Just like tools for preventing privacy incidents are critical, tools that easily empower employees to report are necessary in your company’s privacy toolbox, too.

Outsourcing to professional cybersecurity companies takes a load off your plate and ensures you have the data protection you deserve.

Take Control of your data

All your online activity generates a trail of data. Websites, apps, and services collect data on your behaviours, interests, and purchases. Sometimes, this includes personal data, like your Social Security and driver’s license numbers. It can even include data about your physical self, like health data – think about how a smartwatch counts and records how many steps you take.

While it’s true that you cannot control how each byte of data about you and your family is shared and processed, you are not helpless! In many cases, you can control how you share your data with a few simple steps. Remember, your data is precious, and you deserve to be selective about who you share it with!

Follow these steps to better manage your personal information and make informed decisions about who receives your data.

About Data Privacy Week

Data Privacy Week began as Data Privacy Day in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the 28th of January 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. NCA, the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness, leads the effort in North America each year. 

For more information, visit https://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-week/.

About the National Cybersecurity Alliance

The National Cybersecurity Alliance is a non-profit organisation on a mission to create a more secure, interconnected world. We advocate for the safe use of all technology and educate everyone on how best to protect ourselves, our families, and our organisations from cybercrime. We create strong partnerships between governments and corporations to amplify our message and to foster a greater “digital” good.

For more information about Data Privacy Week and how to get involved, visit https://staysafeonline.org.

Improve your cybersecurity posture with an expert partner.

Cybercriminals are targeting enterprises big and small to try to gain access to sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data and resources.

How are you protecting your IT environment? Stay ahead of threat actors by choosing a managed detection and response service from BUI.

BUI supports global security awareness campaign

BUI supports global security awareness campaign

BUI is proud to participate in Cyber Security Awareness Month as a Champion Organisation for the sixth consecutive year. Founded in 2004, Cyber Security Awareness Month (held each October) is the world’s foremost initiative aimed at promoting cyber security awareness and best practices. The campaign is a collaborative effort among businesses, government agencies, colleges and universities, associations, non-profit organisations, communities and individuals to educate others about online safety.

“Knowledge and vigilance are essential when it comes to cyber security,” says BUI Global CEO Ryan Roseveare. “You need to know what to look out for. You need to know what to do when you see a red flag. And you need to be alert whenever you’re online. Cyber Security Awareness Month plays a key role in educating the public about common cyber risks and encouraging everyone to become more vigilant. BUI is pleased to join the international community in this focused effort to improve cyber security awareness worldwide.”

From smartphones to web-enabled home devices, technology is deeply intertwined with our lives. And while the evolution of technology accelerates, cybercriminals are working just as hard to find ways to compromise technology and disrupt our personal and business activities.

Cyber Security Awareness Month aims to highlight some of the emerging challenges that exist in the world of cyber security today and provide straightforward, actionable guidance which anyone can follow to create a safer, more secure digital world for themselves and their loved ones.

Starting this year, the new theme of Cyber Security Awareness Month is Secure Our World. The main messaging revolves around four cyber security practices:

  1. Creating strong passwords and using a password manager. The strongest passwords are long and unique, with a mixture of character types (lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols).
  2. Enabling multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, adds an extra layer of security to digital accounts by making secondary authentication mandatory.
  3. Recognising and reporting phishing. Public awareness is essential as cybercriminals continue to refine their tactics for phishing scams conducted through emails, text messages, chats, and phone calls.
  4. Keeping software updated. The latest updates and security patches are important to install to ensure that operating systems, internet browsers, and applications are safeguarded.
  5. Cyber Security Awareness Month continues to build momentum and impact with the goal of providing everyone with the information they need to stay safe online. BUI is proud to support this far-reaching online safety awareness and education initiative, which is co-managed by the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

    For more information about the 2023 Cyber Security Awareness Month campaign, you can visit the CISA and Stay Safe Online websites. You can also follow BUI on LinkedIn, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) for helpful tips and resources throughout October, and join the global conversation by including the hashtag #CyberSecurityAwarenessMonth in your own social media posts.

Improve your security posture with an award-winning technology partner.

Cybercriminals are targeting enterprises big and small to try to gain access to sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data and resources. How are you protecting your IT environment?

Stay ahead of threat actors by choosing a comprehensive managed extended detection and response service from BUI. Contact our team to explore Cyber MXDR today.

BUI earns ISO 22301 certification

Our commitment to ensuring business continuity – even in the face of disruption – has been recognised by the British Standards Institution.

We’re proud to announce that we have earned ISO 22301 certification after a rigorous independent evaluation by the British Standards Institution last month. The ISO 22301 badge is recognised internationally and sets the standard for Business Continuity Management Systems.

“This certification highlights the strength of our company’s business continuity strategy,” says Gayle Roseveare, our Chief Operating Officer (COO) here at BUI. “It proves to our staff, partners and customers that we’re prepared for any eventuality – and that we’re able to serve and support the people who rely on us, no matter what. Our ISO 22301 badge represents our commitment to effective risk management, organisational resilience, and reliability – even in the face of disruption,” notes Roseveare.

What is ISO 22301?

Developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation, ISO 22301 lays out a framework to help companies like ours create, implement, and maintain a comprehensive business continuity management system (BCMS). The main aim is to ensure that companies are protected against unforeseen business challenges and equipped to respond and recover when such events do occur.

“BUI is a global company with offices in East Africa, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States,” says Roseveare. “On any given day, our teams are provisioning cloud infrastructure, monitoring and securing digital environments, and delivering a wide range of IT services to customers. We operate around the world and around the clock – and we have to be able to do so continuously. Whether there are power outages in South Africa or internet connectivity issues in Europe, we need to ensure we can deliver uninterrupted services to our customers. Our ISO 22301 certificate validates our planning for disruptive incidents and disasters.”

Why is ISO 22301 certification important?

“In an unpredictable business climate, it pays to be prepared,” explains Dhiren Boodhia, our Group Governance and Compliance Manager. “And that goes double for service providers like us. To earn our ISO 22301 certificate, we had to demonstrate that we have a thorough BCMS in place; that the staff in our various offices understand the BCMS and the processes required to sustain it; and that we are focused on maintaining business continuity and sustainability regardless of market uncertainties and challenges. I think the ISO 22301 badge is an important differentiator – especially when customers are looking for a steadfast technology ally that is as dedicated to legal and regulatory compliance as it is to protecting the business resources of the organisations it works with,” he says.

For customers who choose to partner with BUI, there are five key benefits, adds Boodhia.

  1. Consistency. ISO 22301 emphasises the importance of consistency when it comes to best practices and business processes. “We’ve been assessed on our capabilities around risk assessment and impact analysis as well as our strategies for mitigating disruptions. Our teams excelled in every area – and that means our customers can expect the highest standards of service and care from everyone at BUI,” says Boodhia.
  2. Data protection. With the cyber threat landscape evolving so quickly, data privacy and data security are critical considerations for customers. “ISO 22301 includes extensive conditions for data protection and data recovery,” notes Boodhia. “Our ISO 22301 badge, together with the ISO 27001 certification we achieved for our commitment to information security management, should give our customers even greater confidence: we handle all data respectfully and safely.”
  3. Faster recovery. “ISO 22301 requires us to have a holistic strategy in place to deal with disruptions and disasters. It also mandates a detailed recovery plan to ensure that downtime is minimised – for our company and for the business organisations we serve,” says Boodhia. “BUI customers can be assured that, in the event of an issue, our teams will follow a step-by-step framework to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”
  4. Greater compliance. By achieving ISO 22301 certification, BUI has met the global benchmark for business continuity management, adds Boodhia. “Many of our customers operate in highly regulated industries, like financial services and healthcare, and they must adhere to their own standards in terms of the services they provide to their clients. BUI is committed to maintaining essential functions during adverse circumstances – and that’s a big plus for customers who have strict compliance obligations.”
  5. Peace of mind. ISO 22301 calls for certified organisations to update and improve their business continuity processes to ensure that their strategies remain current, relevant, and effective. “We’re obligated to adapt and enhance our BCMS plan as our company grows,” explains Boodhia. “It’s good news for our customers because it means we’re always prepared. Whatever happens, the BUI services and solutions that so many businesses utilise every day will be available.”

Our commitment to your success

ISO 22301 may be our newest certification, but it’s also a testament to our unwavering focus on our customers, notes our COO. “To be a dependable, reliable technology partner, you need to anticipate the challenges you’re going to face and then take the necessary steps to ensure that you can address those challenges as soon as they arise. We’re being proactive today so that we’re ready for tomorrow – and always on hand to help our customers be productive, secure, and resilient,” Roseveare concludes.

Do you have a disaster recovery plan in place?

Our experts can help you craft a comprehensive backup strategy aligned with your business structure, your IT resources, your budget, and your goals.

Contact our team to arrange a discussion today.

BUI achieves Fortinet’s Cloud Security Specialization

We’re pleased to announce that we have achieved Fortinet’s Cloud Security Specialization as part of the Fortinet Engage Partner Programme. We’re the first Fortinet partner in South Africa to earn this level of recognition and one of the few partners in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region currently holding this particular specialization.

Fortinet’s Cloud Security Specialization is awarded only to those partners who have demonstrated the advanced knowledge and skills required to deploy and manage Fortinet’s range of cloud security solutions effectively.

“We’re thrilled with this achievement, and we’re so proud of our people,” says Donovan Vernes, BUI Service Delivery Manager (Network Operations). “Fortinet has very strict qualifying criteria, from technical expertise and experience to sales alignment, and we met every single benchmark.”

Cloud security specialists

The BUI Network and Security teams are already highly certified, with credentials that span the full breadth of the Fortinet certification path, but Vernes emphasises the significance of our new Cloud Security Specialization. “It’s a validation of our cloud capabilities and an acknowledgement of our commitment to deliver the best possible cybersecurity solutions to our customers.”

Cloud adoption continues to accelerate as customers modernise and transform their operations, notes Vernes. “We’re seeing more and more business organisations with public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud environments in play. These complex systems can be challenging to secure – and even more so when there are diverse technologies involved… That’s why customers need experts they can count on to provide consistent, quality service and support. By earning the Fortinet Cloud Security Specialization, I believe BUI has distinguished itself as a trusted security advisor and guide,” he says.

The cost of cybercrime

The cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $8 trillion this year – and no company is immune to the threat posed by cybercriminals. “Organisations of all sizes, across sectors and industries, are potential targets,” warns Vernes, citing statistics from Fortinet’s recent research.

“According to The 2023 Global Ransomware Report, half of enterprises fell victim to a ransomware attack in the last 12 months, and 46% were targeted by ransomware two or more times,” he says, adding that phishing, access via vulnerable ports, and remote desktop exploits were the most common tactics observed.

“Now, more than ever, enterprises should strive for unified security,” advises Vernes. “By integrating your security tools, technologies and systems, you can gather relevant, actionable data from your business sources and gain deeper insights regarding potential threats. This will allow you to close security gaps, enable faster detection and response, and minimise your attack surface.”

Fortify your defences

As a Fortinet partner, BUI offers professional consultations, reactive support, and managed services tailored for each customer’s security journey. “Our comprehensive security expertise, our advanced security solutions, and our ability to help customers improve their overall security posture sets us apart,” says Vernes.

Comprehensive security expertise

Cybersecurity is a critical profession in this digital age, but there aren’t enough professionals to meet the global demand. “The skills shortage is a major concern for customers, who want top talent to protect their business resources,” says Vernes.

“As a Fortinet Select Partner, BUI is required to have top talent… Experienced technologists who have undergone specialised training to address the unique security challenges of hyperconnected workplaces. Customers who choose BUI are choosing a team with deep cloud and security expertise and a track record of success.”

Advanced security solutions

As a Cloud Security Specialization partner, BUI has access to Fortinet’s advanced security solutions, including FortiGate Cloud (for the management and maintenance of Fortinet’s FortiGate Next-Generation Firewalls), FortiCASB (Fortinet’s Cloud Access Security Broker for monitoring security risks), and FortiCWP (Fortinet’s Cloud Workload Protection solution). 

“There’s a wide range of Fortinet tools available to give customers greater visibility across their cloud infrastructure and greater control over their connected systems,” explains Vernes. “Customers who choose BUI can benefit from single-pane-of-glass cloud management, streamlined network and security operations, and holistic protection with cutting-edge technology.”

Improved security posture

To maintain business continuity in a world of evolving cyber threats, organisations must ensure the security of their cloud environments. “A clear understanding of the enterprise security posture is vital,” says Vernes.

“Customers need to know how effective their defences really are so that they can adjust their IT strategies accordingly. We can help them find the right Fortinet products to support their security goals, and ensure that the requisite network, application and platform solutions are correctly integrated and fully optimised,” he concludes.

Let’s secure your business organisation today.

Looking for a technology partner to enable comprehensive protection for your organisation’s users, devices, applications, and network edges?

Book a consultation with us to explore Fortinet’s cutting-edge security solutions for public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Data Privacy Week: How to earn customer trust

Respecting the privacy of your customers, staff, and all other stakeholders is critical for inspiring trust and enhancing reputation.

According to the Pew Research Center, 79% of adults report being concerned about the way their data is being used by companies. By being open about how you use data and respecting privacy, you can earn customer trust and stand out from your competition.

How To Prioritize Data Privacy With Your Customers

The US National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) recommends adopting the following market leading practices:

  • Be transparent about how you collect, use, and share consumers’ personal information.
  • Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used.
  • Design settings to protect their information by default.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization, as well as the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.

How To Prioritize Data Privacy With Your Employees

Additionally, you can also focus on upskilling your employees in the following ways:

Start Raising Awareness  

A privacy awareness campaign can empower your employees to make the best cybersecurity choices.

Share messages about privacy in places employees will see them: on internal social media, around the office, on employee intranet portals, in company newsletters, and emails.

Use our resources or look for other resources online. You shouldn’t have to start from scratch, and there are a lot of materials available for free, especially leading up to Data Privacy Week in January.

Organize privacy training

Privacy is moving quickly. New legislation and regulations are always in the works, and your business doesn’t stand still either.

You may be launching a new product in a country or state that has privacy laws you’ll need to comply with. Find privacy training that fits your culture.

There are many providers and while the meat of the message is largely similar, the way it’s delivered varies. It’s a question of style and tone: do you want friendly and animated, or a more buttoned-down e-learning course?

Pick what’s right for your organization, not just in terms of covering all the facts, but culturally as well. That way the training is more likely stick and give you the ROI you’re looking for.

Add privacy to the employee toolbox

Make it easier to prioritize privacy. Provide your employees with the tools they can use to improve their privacy, such as company-branded camera covers, privacy screens for their devices, and virtual private networks (VPNs) to secure their connections, or password management software.

Many of these tools will cost the company money, but the peace of mind is well worth it. And the costs pale in comparison to dealing with an incident or breach.

Engage the experts

Remember that most employees aren’t privacy or security experts. You will need to build in mechanisms that make it easy for them to report privacy and security concerns to your experts. Just like tools for preventing privacy incidents are critical, tools that easily empower employees to report are necessary in your company’s privacy toolbox, too.

Outsourcing to professional cybersecurity companies takes a load off your plate and ensures you have the data protection you deserve.

Become a Data Privacy Champion

Another way to differentiate yourself within your market is by becoming a Data Privacy Week Champion.

Data Privacy Week began as Data Privacy Day in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. The National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA), a leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness, leads the effort each year.

The NCA is a non-profit organization on a mission to create a more secure, interconnected world. They advocate for the safe use of all technology and educate everyone on how best to protect themselves, their families, and their organizations from cybercrime. They also create strong partnerships between governments and corporations to ensure cybersecurity for all.

For more information about Data Privacy Week and how to get involved, visit https://staysafeonline.org/programs/data-privacy-week/.

Improve your cybersecurity posture with an expert partner.

Cybercriminals are targeting enterprises big and small to try to gain access to sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data and resources.

How are you protecting your IT environment? Stay ahead of threat actors by choosing a managed detection and response service from BUI.

Practical pointers to help you improve workplace data security

Businesses that take a proactive approach to cybersecurity are better equipped to safeguard sensitive data and spot suspicious activity.

Keeping sensitive data safe and secure is a challenge for businesses of all sizes. Major shifts in the workplace – from in-person to remote and hybrid productivity – forced companies to change, or at least re-assess, their cybersecurity practices and protocols. And far too often, they were not adequately prepared for the evolving cyberthreat landscape.

In fact, according to CyberEdge’s ninth annual Cyberthreat Defence Report, more than 80% of organisations suffered from a successful cyberattack in 2021. With data privacy and data security top of mind, businesses are looking to strengthen their defences against cybercriminals. Here are four simple steps you can take to better protect your workplace data.

1 | Identify the ‘crown jewels’ of your business

Knowing what kind of data cybercriminals want is an essential part of your defence strategy. Therefore, creating an inventory of your so-called crown jewels (the most valuable data and data-related assets within your organisation, including hardware and software information) is important.

In addition, you should have a current (and actively maintained) list of every end-user who has access to your critical business data. Keep accurate records, with device and location details, so that you can carry out the necessary forensic investigations in the event of a data breach.

 2 | Make sure you’re updating and authenticating – always

Keep your operating systems, software packages and web browsers up to date and ensure that all devices have automatic updates enabled. When your connected environment is well maintained, with patches and updates carried out timeously, then your overall security posture is that much stronger.

In addition, make sure that your staff use multifactor authentication (MFA) when they log in. Simple username-and-password combinations are not enough to keep cybercriminals at bay, and MFA could mean the difference between a successful or an unsuccessful hack.

3 | Actively monitor your connected environment for suspicious activity

You should monitor your IT environment continuously to detect misconfigurations, vulnerabilities, breach attempts, and cyberattacks in real time. If you have dedicated cybersecurity personnel, they can implement endpoint security technology to help monitor your network. If not, you can bring in SecOps experts to actively identify, investigate, and mitigate cyberthreats 24/7/365.

Moreover, make sure that everyone in your organisation understands the importance of good cyber hygiene and is following the security policies you have in place. When your people know how to spot phishing attempts, for example, then they can respond appropriately.

4 | Prepare your response plan in advance

No matter how many safeguards you have in place, the unfortunate reality is that cyber incidents still occur. However, responding in a comprehensive manner will reduce the impact on your business and send a positive signal to your customers and employees. Therefore, you should have an incident response plan prepared in advance.

This document should be stored safely and your dedicated response team should be able to access it quickly when the need arises. Make sure your incident response plan includes clearly defined technical, operational, legal, and communication-related steps for your team to follow.


BUI is proud to be a Champion organisation for the 2022 edition of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This article was originally provided by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and is republished here with permission.

Improve your cybersecurity posture with an expert partner.

Cybercriminals are targeting enterprises big and small to try to gain access to sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data and resources.

How are you protecting your IT environment? Stay ahead of threat actors by choosing a managed detection and response service from BUI.