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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.

DFIR as a Service: Effective incident response when you need it

If cybercriminals breached your systems today, would you be ready to act? Zandre Janse van Vuuren explains why DFIR as a Service is such a compelling solution for businesses that don’t have their own Digital Forensics and Incident Response teams.

By Zandre Janse van Vuuren | Service Delivery Manager: Cyber DFIR, BUI

Cybercrime has become more sophisticated, more frequent, and more damaging than ever, with companies falling victim to data breaches, ransomware scams, and other types of cyberattacks that often result in substantial financial losses and reputational damage. In the aftermath, they’re turning to Digital Forensics and Incident Response specialists to find answers – and to help them strengthen their security posture and avoid a repeat incident.

What is Digital Forensics and Incident Response?

Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) is a niche field within cybersecurity that concentrates on identifying, preserving, analysing, and recovering digital information to investigate and respond to security incidents and cybercrimes.

DFIR specialists play a critical role in mitigating cyber threats and maintaining the integrity of connected digital systems. Their key focus areas typically include Incident Response, Digital Forensics, Analysis, Recovery, and Reporting.

Incident Response

DFIR specialists are responsible for quickly identifying and responding to security incidents like network intrusions, data breaches, malware infections, and cyberattacks. Their primary goal is to minimise the damage caused by the incident and prevent further unauthorised access by the perpetrator.

Digital Forensics

DFIR teams use sophisticated tools and investigative techniques to gather and analyse digital evidence from various sources, including servers, computers, portable drives, smart devices, mobile phones, and network logs. They must follow strict collection procedures and maintain a chain of custody to preserve the integrity of digital evidence so that it is admissible in any legal proceedings related to the incident.

Analysis

DFIR teams thoroughly examine all digital evidence to uncover the scope of the incident and identify the perpetrator’s methods and motives. They also evaluate the extent of the damage caused to the victim’s connected environment by analysing logs, file systems, memory data, and network traffic, among other things.

Recovery

DFIR specialists have advanced technology and security skills and can work to recover data, systems, or services lost or compromised due to the incident. This process may involve restoring backups, removing malware, and implementing new, more comprehensive security measures to reduce the victim’s attack surface in the future.

Reporting

DFIR specialists are responsible for documenting their findings and preparing detailed technical and forensic reports suitable for legal purposes, regulatory compliance, or internal investigations. They can also appear in court as expert witnesses.

DFIR as a Service

Last year, the average cost of a data breach was $4.45-million. Researchers estimate that cyberattacks will cost the global economy $10.5-trillion by the end of 2024. And by 2025, lack of skill or human failure will be responsible for more than half of significant security incidents.

It’s clear that cybercriminals are taking advantage of a perfect storm: our hyperconnected digital world, the global shortage of security professionals, readily available hacking tools, and the relative ease of operating anonymously on the web. In this volatile climate, you have to go beyond protecting and defending your IT environment and plan for when disaster strikes.

If you do not have an in-house team of DFIR experts to identify and contain threats, mitigate the impact of security incidents, and conduct in-depth investigations, then you should consider opting for a DFIR-as-a-Service solution. This will enable you to leverage the expertise of a trusted security partner and enjoy the five main benefits of DFIR-as-a-Service.

1. Access to experienced security pros

DFIR-as-a-Service partners usually have a team (or teams) of security professionals specialising in incident response and digital forensic investigation. These experts have cutting-edge skills and a wealth of experience gained from working on DFIR cases involving business and enterprise organisations in diverse industries. As a customer, you can tap into a much broader knowledge base than your company’s own and take advantage of the insights and lessons learned by these pros.

2. Rapid response when it matters most

Every second counts when you’re dealing with a security incident. DFIR-as-a-Service partners are prepared to respond quickly when called upon. They have established procedures and playbooks to deal with the incident, and defined service-level agreements governing their engagements with you. As a result, you can expect swift incident analysis and containment, proper incident management, and dedicated support from DFIR experts – all crucial elements for minimising the impact of the incident.

3. Specialised tools and technologies

DFIR-as-a-Service partners invest in cutting-edge tools to give their teams advanced incident response and digital forensic analysis capabilities. They also harness their relationships with technology peers, think tanks, and research institutions to gain deeper insights into the evolving threat landscape. As a customer, you can benefit from specialised technologies and sophisticated industry research without ever having to source these independently.

4. Reduced legal and regulatory risks

DFIR-as-a-Service partners are external parties who provide objective assistance and an outsider’s perspective on your security posture and any incidents. As DFIR experts, they are equipped to ensure that all digital forensic investigations are conducted thoroughly and impartially in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. You can rest assured every incident will be handled responsibly, professionally, and with complete transparency.

5. Cost efficiency

Creating and managing an in-house DFIR team is a costly and time-consuming process. It involves finding and training DFIR professionals and procuring state-of-the-art hardware and software – all of which can strain your budget. On the other hand, when you hire a DFIR-as-a-Service partner, you instantly broaden your organisation’s DFIR capabilities without having to bear the overhead costs associated with maintaining a full-time internal team.

As cybercrime continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, the importance of Digital Forensics and Incident Response cannot be overstated. If you’re serious about holistic protection for your organisation, then a robust DFIR strategy is not just advisable – it’s imperative.

A DFIR-as-a-Service solution customised for your company is a proactive investment in security that will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a team of specialists on standby to help you safeguard your assets, protect your reputation, and preserve business continuity in challenging times.

BUI Cyber DFIR Service Delivery Manager Zandre Janse van Vuuren is a certified computer, digital and mobile forensics specialist and incident handler with a background in security operations.

Call in our security and digital forensics experts when it matters most. From lone attackers to ransomware groups, cyberspace is filled with adversaries. Solid preparation is essential. Our Cyber DFIR team can provide all the support you need in times of crisis. Learn more about our Digital Forensics and Incident Response retainer service, available now.

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 is an Azure Expert MSP for the 4th year running

The Azure Expert MSP certification is a hallmark of excellence that acknowledges our end-to-end cloud capabilities.

BUI has been recognised as a Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Services Provider (MSP) for the fourth year in a row!

“When we first achieved Azure Expert MSP status in 2020, it was a significant accomplishment for our company and a key milestone in our longstanding relationship with Microsoft,” says Ryan Roseveare, our Global CEO. “Since then, we have diversified our range of cloud solutions to help customers leverage the speed, scale, and security of Azure to enable innovation and sustainable growth in their own businesses.”

“We are thrilled to have renewed our Azure Expert MSP certification for the fourth consecutive year,” continues Roseveare. “As the premier Azure designation for Microsoft partners, this accreditation is an acknowledgement of the depth and breadth of our cloud-management capabilities and our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of customer service.”

The Azure Expert MSP certification is a hallmark of excellence

Microsoft launched the Azure Expert MSP programme in 2018 as a way to showcase the most skilled and capable Azure managed services providers. To participate in the programme, Microsoft partners must pass an independent audit of their people, processes, and technologies – and prove that they can deliver high-fidelity Azure managed services and world-class technical support to customers. BUI was evaluated in September this year.

“We underwent an intensive third-party review of our teams, our Azure methodologies and frameworks, our competencies, our corporate performance, our customer successes, and much more,” explains Dhiren Boodhia, our Group Governance and Compliance Manager. “These annual audits are always in-depth, but this year’s assessment was particularly comprehensive – and we excelled in all areas. We are delivering outstanding work for our customers and this Azure Expert MSP re-certification is a testament to the passion and dedication of everyone here,” says Boodhia.

Willem Malan, our Chief Technology Officer, agrees. “There are more than 400 000 Microsoft partner organisations around the world and only 132 of them are currently certified as Azure Expert MSPs.

Globally, BUI is in the top tier of Microsoft partners with the necessary expertise and experience to design, deploy, manage, secure, and optimise business solutions on Azure,” says Malan. “Whether it’s a straightforward lift-and-shift migration or a complex digital transformation project, we can support customers at every stage of their Azure journey, and beyond.”

Recognition of our end-to-end Microsoft expertise

In addition to our credentials as an Azure Expert MSP and Microsoft Solutions Partner for Microsoft Cloud, we’re proud to be a Microsoft Security Experts MXDR Partner, a member of the prestigious Microsoft Intelligent Security Association, and a three-time Microsoft Country Partner of the Year holding 10 Microsoft Advanced Specializations including Cloud Security, Infra and Database Migration to Microsoft Azure, and Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop.

“We have earned our standing as Azure experts because we’ve invested in our people, our business, and our relationship with Microsoft,” continues Malan. “We’re enabling our cloud teams to develop cutting-edge technical skills. We’re expanding into new markets. And we’re working closely with Microsoft as the cloud landscape changes. We’re doing all of this to ensure that our customers continue to receive the best possible advice and support – and the right Azure solutions for their business needs.”

The BUI Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) plays an important role in this regard, notes our governance and compliance head. “The Azure administrators, architects, consultants, developers, engineers, and security specialists in our CCoE are Microsoft certified professionals adept in the principles of the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework. We follow Microsoft’s established codes, guidelines, and best practices on every Azure project to make sure that our customers’ connected environments are well-managed and fully optimised for performance, security, and compliance,” says Boodhia.

Re-certification as an Azure Expert MSP validates our exceptional cloud-management capabilities and gives our current and future customers peace of mind, says chief executive Roseveare. “With more than two decades of success in the technology sector, a global footprint, and verified Azure experts specialising in everything from cloud infrastructure to cloud security, BUI is a trusted Microsoft partner equipped to deliver impactful results and real value for business organisations from Day 1, and every day thereafter. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Microsoft, and to helping our mutual customers achieve more with Azure,” Roseveare concludes.

Need a hand managing, optimising and protecting your Azure environment?

From foundational support and monitoring to full-scale management and continuous optimisation, our cloud experts are here to help you achieve more with Azure.

Explore our Azure managed services today.

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.

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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.

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Industry certifications to help boost your cybersecurity career

Keen to improve your job prospects in the field of cybersecurity? BUI Cloud Security Architect Neil du Plessis highlights the credentials that could give you a competitive advantage.

There’s a high demand for cybersecurity specialists equipped to help organisations defend themselves against cyberattacks. Industry certifications that validate your cybersecurity experience can be a great way to publicise your abilities, increase your earning potential, and boost your career prospects in this field.

Microsoft, the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, Offensive Security, and eLearnSecurity provide some of the most comprehensive cybersecurity certification courses on the market, according to BUI Cloud Security Architect Neil du Plessis.

Microsoft’s cybersecurity training path

Microsoft offers a variety of cybersecurity training options to help you achieve technical certifications that showcase your industry-relevant skills. Du Plessis advises starting with the SC-900 certification to get to grips with the fundamentals of Microsoft’s security, compliance, and identity solutions.

“You’ll gain valuable insights into the relationship between these solutions and how they can be leveraged to ensure end-to-end cybersecurity. After that, you can move on to technology-specific and role-based certifications in security operations, identity and access management, and information protection, in line with what you want to achieve professionally.”

Du Plessis recommends the following order:

“Microsoft has outlined its own recommended path for individuals looking to specialise in security, compliance, and identity, but I think you can adapt this learning journey to suit your personal outcomes,” says Du Plessis.

Quick Tip | The Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Training and Certifications Guide contains more information about the SC-900, AZ-500, MS-500, SC-400, SC-300, SC-200, and SC-100 certifications, and Microsoft Learn has an extensive collection of free training materials to aid your studies and exam preparation.

Cybersecurity certifications from (ISC)²

The International Information System Security Certification Consortium – or (ISC)² – offers technology professionals a range of information security certifications. (ISC)² certifications are recognised globally and deal with everything from security administration to operations and management. These are the four that Du Plessis suggests:

Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) is an entry-level certification aimed at graduates, beginners, and novice practitioners in the field. “It’s designed to give you the foundational knowledge required to start a career in cybersecurity,” says Du Plessis. “If you’re new to the industry or perhaps changing your job focus, this could be the first rung on the ladder as you develop your skills.”

Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) is a credential that proves your ability to implement, monitor, and manage IT systems and infrastructure securely. “It’s a way to demonstrate your holistic understanding of the best practices, accepted policies, and international standards regarding security operations,” says Du Plessis. The SSCP certificate is a popular choice among experienced systems administrators, systems analysts, and systems engineers.

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) is best suited for information security leaders with experience in cloud security architecture, design, operations and orchestration. “With the CCSP certification behind your name, prospective employers will know that you have advanced capabilities when it comes to protecting critical cloud assets,” says Du Plessis.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is widely regarded as the globe’s premier cybersecurity certification. “But it doesn’t come easy,” notes Du Plessis. “CISSP certification requires a substantial investment of both time and money. There’s a staggering volume of course information to get through, but the reward is well worth it. Plus, the credential itself can open new doors for you.”

In the United Kingdom, the CISSP certification is comparable to Level 7 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework. And in South Africa, many universities will accept CISSP as recognition of prior learning if you pursue a postgraduate study programme (to achieve an Honours degree, for example).

(ISC)² offers several other certifications, but Du Plessis cautions that they’re geared toward professionals in particular disciplines or industries. “If your focus area is governance and compliance, or risk management, then Certified Authorisation Professional (CAP) may be a good path to explore. But if your responsibilities include protecting sensitive patient data and medical records, then becoming a Healthcare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP) might make more sense.”

Quick Tip | The (ISC)² Cybersecurity Qualification Pathfinder tool can help you decide which certifications match your current and future career goals.

Niche credentials for specialised jobs in cybersecurity

Penetration testing and digital forensic investigation are highly specialised fields that require cybersecurity pros to expand their practical, technical, and analytical capabilities. “For those with the necessary credentials in these niches, there’s certainly no shortage of work,” remarks Du Plessis. “At BUI, our penetration testers are booked months in advance. And worldwide, there’s a growing demand for forensic experts who can help organisations uncover evidence of cybercrime.”

The OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional) course presented by Offensive Security is considered far more technical than other ethical-hacking qualifications on the market. “It’s also one of the few cybersecurity certifications that requires students to prove their practical skills in a test environment,” adds Du Plessis. “The combination of hands-on training and real-world simulation is hugely beneficial.”

The certifications offered by eLearnSecurity are also worth looking into – especially if you want to narrow your focus by specialising in penetration testing for web or mobile applications, says Du Plessis. The eLearnSecurity Certified Professional Penetration Tester (eCPPT) credential is recognised on all seven continents, and the Web Application Penetration Tester eXtreme (eWPTX) and Mobile Application Penetration Tester (eMAPT) certifications are respected in IT circles.

The eLearnSecurity Certified Digital Forensics Professional (eCDFP) accreditation is designed for senior technologists with existing cybersecurity knowledge. It focuses on the processes and methodologies used in modern digital forensics investigations.

These cybersecurity certifications are just a starting point. It’s always a good idea to do additional research to see what fits best for you. “Keep an eye on cybersecurity news sites, group forums, and social media, too,” advises Du Plessis. “The security industry is evolving rapidly. If you’re in the loop, then you’ll be able to update your skills accordingly with the right certifications.”

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