Bring people together, digitally

As COVID-19 continues to change the business landscape, SMBs need a powerful tool to enable communication and collaboration between remote teams.

Employees working remotely on laptops, tablets and mobile phones

Small and medium-sized businesses are facing unprecedented challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And for those with newly remote workforces, effective teamwork can be one of the biggest issues. After all, how do you work together if you can’t be together in the same location? How do you collaborate from afar when you’re accustomed to in-person meetings and group-level planning sessions? How do you communicate quickly and effectively when face-to-face conversations are no longer possible? Microsoft’s answer is Teams.

Teams is Microsoft’s communication and collaboration hub within Office 365. It’s an integrated software solution that allows people to chatcollaborate, and meet – virtually – whenever they like, from wherever they are.

For the past three years, Microsoft Teams has empowered SMBs locally and globally. Today, more than 40 million people are active on Teams every day, using the secure platform (web and mobile) to carry out essential business tasks and to maintain contact with remote workers, colleagues, managers, customers, and service partners.

Microsoft favourites like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are built into Teams to create a comprehensive shared workspace where it’s as easy to share files as it is to share ideas. Powerful communication tools are integrated as well, to enable one-on-one conversations, group discussions, and online meetings. With Teams, remote workers can:

  • chat from anywhere via threaded and persistent messaging with rich text and @mention capabilities and customised notifications;
  • collaborate from anywhere by co-authoring documents in real time and tracking project chats, notes, updates, and files in one place;
  • meet from anywhere by using high-definition audio, web and video conferencing facilities that support presentation and application sharing.

Microsoft has made the free version of Teams available to everyone in response to the current coronavirus crisis. There’s also a way to explore the benefits of premium Teams even if you don’t have Office 365. 

Free Teams. The no-cost version of Teams gives you unlimited chat, built-in group, one-on-one audio or video calling, 10 GB of team file storage, and 2 GB of personal file storage per user. Explore the differences between free and paid plans here.

Teams via the Office 365 E1 Trial. In early March 2020, Microsoft announced a free six-month Office 365 E1 Trial, including Teams, because of the increased need for people to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact us to learn more about this special offer.

Teams via your existing Office 365 licence. Microsoft Teams is part of Office 365. If your organisation is correctly licensed for Office 365, then you already have access to Teams. Talk to your IT staff (or your BUI account manager) about activating Teams if you haven’t already done so. And share the in-depth resources below to help your people maximise Microsoft Teams while they’re working remotely during South Africa’s national lockdown.

BUI is an official Microsoft Partner in South Africa, and an award-winning leader in identity and security solutions.

Unite Remote Workers With Microsoft Teams

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.

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