The past year has been filled with changes. How has the Maureen Data Systems (MDS) technology strategy changed when assisting your clients?
Our customers come to us looking for more comprehensive solutions and they want them to be cost effective. They are not simply looking for point products but an entire suite of tools to help their users stay productive while continuing to meet their security requirements just as if their workforce were stationed in an office setting. For MDS, we have focused on providing guidance and implementations that do not just look at the individual technology but instead treat the solution holistically.
From your experience, how has moving to a work-from-home model changed the way your clients interact and work together?
One of the biggest changes is the focus on collaboration solutions, the need for a way to get a quick answer to a question or even have some face-to-face time with their teams. Plus, the familiarity with video calls and screen sharing in people’s personal lives means we have seen accelerated adoption of solutions like Microsoft Teams and less reliance on using traditional email for communication and document sharing. But most importantly, these activities should be done securely.
Microsoft Teams has revolutionised the way people work. Why is this platform recommended by MDS so heavily?
Teams is a really great solution that can provide so much for an organisation: communication via chat and video calls, document creation and collaboration, meeting and scheduling tools, app integrations, it can even serve as a whole phone system if you need it to! It is a cloud-based solution that is available on multiple desktop and mobile platforms all while having security not just wrapped around it but woven through it. With all those benefits and capabilities, it almost becomes hard to come up with reasons for why we would not recommend it to most organisations.
A work-from-home model cannot be successful without security being front of mind. How does MDS secure users in a remote world?
MDS takes a comprehensive approach to tackling the issue of security for an organisation’s users and data. It starts with identity and access management and concepts like multi-factor authentication and risk-based conditional access, but it certainly does not end there. We will also work with our customers to better manage and secure their devices, assist with data protection and data governance via policies in solutions like Cloud App Security and Azure Information Protection, and even help users get better at identifying potentially malicious messages via security awareness campaigns. The goal is to keep the organisation productive while minimising risk.
Tell us about a success story of a client that was able to transition to secure home-working and enabled digital transformation in the process.
One of our customers, a marketing consulting firm, was using some of the Microsoft 365 suite of products. It had focused heavily on email and on-premises file shares but had also tested some SharePoint Online and OneDrive use cases. When employees started working from home, the firm was concerned about productivity and how it would secure sensitive data. We were able to help the customer use SharePoint Online and Teams to keep the business moving, and to use solutions such as conditional access policies, data loss prevention (DLP) policies and Azure Information Protection to meet security requirements.
Why should organisations choose MDS?
MDS has an extremely talented team of certified experts. There are a lot of companies that could help a business migrate data to the cloud, configure settings related to access management or create a DLP policy but our team takes a larger view and asks why those items are being put in place. Since so much of security is policy driven, we want to know what is driving the implementation. From there, the conversation usually reveals that there are not only some gaps in the original approach, but it also helps to develop which ways our team can help them take full advantage of the tools and platforms to which they already have access. Being a Microsoft Gold Partner means our team has the skills to help companies tackle this complex issue and find the right solutions.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2021 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.