Sunday, September 16, 2018

Ion is building Modern Workplaces 6 of 6

Ion is building Modern Workplaces 6 of 6 Execute


When you decide it is time to Execute your plan to migrate your organization to the Modern Workplace you should consider some of the elements of this article.  Some are organizational, some more technical.  

Center of Excellence

In a large, complex or global organisation, a great digital workplace can’t be delivered by a single team. The sheer size of these organisations makes it impractical, let alone the difficulties of understanding and meeting the local needs of hundreds of individual business units.
Instead, big organisations should establish a global center of excellence for the modern workplace, enabling and supporting the work of myriad local teams.
It’s tempting to believe that global intranets and modern workplaces are just bigger versions of ‘typical’ sites and platforms. They’re not.
In complex environments, both global and local needs must be met. The tangled and fluid nature of organisational needs also makes a linear approach difficult.
Five hats for global teams for example provides a valuable framework to consider the role of the global team in all this.
Global teams will be the owners of some top-down elements, such as the enterprise front door (global intranet homepage). They will also be providers of platforms such as content publishing, search and collaboration.
The most important roles for the global team, however, are as innovators and facilitators.
With these hats on, global teams should consider establishing a modern workplace center of excellence.

Work Order System

It’s easy to say, “Always fill out a work order,” but it can be harder to put into practice. Companies with the whole work order process nailed down shoot for having every single minute of a tech’s time covered by a work order.
If you’ve got someone at the client site and they change an extra light bulb, they need to fill out a work order. If your ten techs each spend just fifteen minutes a day on non-recorded work, you’d be giving up 50 hours every month to off-the-books work.
In the Modern Workplace this is even more important as everyone in the organization gets used to the instant collaboration any problems will cause exaggerated impact from the change in capabilities an outage can cause.  
This is especially true as the Modern Workplace is rolled out, the work order system can track every step along the way and ensure a smoother roll out which will improve the sense of reliability you want to promote.
This is another place where technology can make things easier for you. If your techs are in the field, they need to have access to the work order system so they can easily fill out orders on the fly. Mobile integration with work order software can make it a breeze to cover all your bases.
The biggest risk with non-recorded time is an unhappy staff. It may seem counter-intuitive, but by doing a little more work, your employees can keep themselves from feeling overworked. When work happens off the map, you can end up over scheduling your team. By keeping precise track of their time, you can make sure everyone is given the time they need, and that more employees are brought in when things get overwhelming.

Operations Support System

OSS includes software, hardware, integration between systems, and business processes. As a collection of integrated applications, OSS supports the design, build and running of both the modern workplace as a whole and the individual services that make use of that system.
OSS encompasses many highly technical network management processes but ultimately its purpose is to ensure the modern workplace is efficient, services are profitable, and customers are happy.
We’ve introduced a lot of concepts there already, so let’s start by looking at the acronym OSS: What does OSS stand for?

OSS stands for either “Operational Support Systems” or “Operations Support Systems”.
“Operational Support Systems” is perhaps more commonly used. But don’t worry, you won’t sound dumb if you use either operations or operational.
Let’s break it down further…


Relating to the day-to-day tasks of supplying and supporting communication services. Getting technical and infrastructure jobs done. Running the network and services. As opposed to the business of selling, marketing or billing (which, as we will see later, are tasks that belong to BSS).


Enabling and improving the service provider’s operational activities: Automating operational tasks; executing them faster; making them consistent; and tracking progress/results.


One or more distinct software applications, that are responsible for doing specific OSS jobs, running on servers, or on devices installed in the network, or executed in the Cloud.

Security Operations Center

Learn How to Fuse People, Process, and Technology to Create a Highly Effective SOC
In a perfect world, your organization would staff a 24x7 SOC—and have no trouble finding the budget or talent to do so. But the truth is, most organizations can’t afford a 24x7 SOC. The cost of having well-trained analysts onsite at all times outweighs the benefits.
If your organization is making do with an informal SOC, you may be facing delays in responding to incidents. You may even fear that incidents are going unnoticed. It’s a dangerous situation.
But there is a solution: building a SOC that automates as much of the SecOps work as possible.
This white paper will illustrate how to fuse people, process, and technology to create a highly effective and efficient SOC—even with limited resources. You’ll learn:
  1. What makes a SOC effective
  2. How to estimate SOC costs and savings
  3. Cost comparisons of various SOC staffing models
  4. Steps for building a SOC with limited resources

Detecting ransomware in the modern workplace

In earlier blogs, we have shared with you the roots of Microsoft 365 threat protection and how Microsoft 365 threat protect helps protect the modern workplace from ransomware. This week, we discuss how Microsoft 365 threat protection helps detect ransomware in the modern workplace. Detection is critical for any best in class security solution especially when the person does not use Microsoft Edge with the benefits of its web protection. In our web-based scenario, the user can access the website through another browser, download the “software update” and infect their machine with ransomware. Microsoft 365 offers detection capabilities across all threat vectors and figure 1 summarizes the services which help to detect threats.
Ransomware Detection with Microsoft 365
Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection
Azure Advanced Threat Protection
Microsoft Cloud App Security
Azure Security Center
Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
Office 365 Threat Intelligence
Figure 1. Microsoft 365 threat protection helps detect threats to the modern workplace
For example, with ransomware downloads from the web, Windows Defender ATP’s (WDATP) next-gen antivirus protection does an initial analysis of the file and sends all suspicious files to a detonation chamber. The file verdict is quickly determined. If a malicious verdict is returned, WDATP immediately begins blocking the threat. Today’s most sophisticated ransomware is designed to spread laterally across networks increasing its potential impact. Fortunately, WDATP enables security operations specialists to isolate machines from the network, stopping threats from spreading. Also, WDATP provides granular visibility into the device ecosystem so that a compromised device can be easily identified. Built-in threat intelligence is leveraged to help detect the latest threats and provide real-time threat monitoring. As we alluded to, signal sharing via the intelligent security graph is a powerful differentiator of Microsoft 365, enabling threat detection across any threat vector. Once WDATP determines the downloaded files are malicious, it shares this signal with the Intelligent Security Graph enabling our other platforms to become aware of the threat.
The seamless integration, for example, allows admins to pivot directly from the device analysis in WDATP to user profiles in Azure ATP without losing context allowing a detailed investigation of the incident as shown in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2. Signal sharing and event timeline shared between WDATP and Azure ATP
Often, ransomware uses a brute force password method to move laterally through a network which our Azure ATP service is specifically designed to detect. A brute force password attack may attempt multiple logins until a correct password is used to enter an account. This anomalous behavior would be detected by Azure ATP and with signals shared from WDATP, the anomaly would be quickly assigned to the ransomware and blocked from being downloaded onto any part of the network (device, user, etc). Azure ATP enables security operations analysts to investigate the type of intrusions and methods used by attackers to gain privileged access to user identities and provides a clear attack and event timeline. While Azure ATP detects anomalies at the network level, Microsoft Cloud App Security can detect abnormal file and user behavior within native Microsoft cloud apps such as Office 365, as well as third-party cloud applications. To detect ransomware attacks, Microsoft Cloud App Security identifies behavioral patterns that reflect ransomware activity; for example, a high rate of file uploads or file deletion activities, coupled with threat intelligence capabilities, such as the detection of known ransomware extensions. Microsoft Cloud App Security will alert on these abnormalities using anomaly detection policies that provide out-of-the-box user and entity behavioral analytics (UEBA) and machine learning (ML) capabilities, as well as fully customizable activity policies, enabling SecOps to detect these anomalies instantly. Learn more about how Microsoft Cloud App Security and Azure ATP work in tandem to help detect an actual ransomware attack.
Azure Security Center is also connected with WDATP and provides infrastructure level alerts and even provides an investigation path so admins can fully view the threat propagation details. The service includes threat intelligence which maps the threat source and provides the potential objectives of the threat campaign. What happens if an attacker senses that the web-based attack vector is being blocked and pivots to sending the ransomware via email as an attachment download? Microsoft 365 integration is again crucial as WDATP also shares the signal with Office 365 and once our ransomware is identified by WDATP, Office 365 will begin blocking the threat too. With Office 365 ATP’s real-time reporting and Office 365 threat intelligence, admins gain full visibility into all users who receive ransomware via email. Both Office ATP and Office threat intelligence services also track threats found in SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Teams so detection extends to the entire Office 365 suite. With Microsoft 365 threat protection, threats can be easily detected no matter how an attack is launched. Figure 3 shows the new Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance Center which is the hub from where admins can access the information from the different services.
Figure 3.  Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance center which connects the Azure, Office 365, and Windows workloads
Next week we conclude our Microsoft 365 threat protection blog series by covering the remediation and education capabilities offered by Microsoft 365 threat protection. We will demonstrate how Microsoft 365 threat protection workloads can help quickly remediate a ransomware attack and also help educate end users on how to behave and react when under attack. 


Digitization is merely a term that describes the transition into a global, digital world and the manner in which relevant technologies are restructuring the business world and society.
This means that companies urgently require purposeful alignment with the progressive digitization of all sectors in order to guarantee sustained value added.
The Modern Workplace is a key element in a company's digital transformation. Up-to-date IT equipment enhances the efficiency of your staff and contributes to the success of the company.
The Microsoft Collaboration World now offers extensive interfaces and platforms for efficient and productive, shared environments that place a primary focus on the issue of security. With COMPAREX by your side, the digital transition, alignment and reorientation will become real opportunities for your company.

The Modern Workplace with Ion-Modern Workplace means that you will have an experienced partner by your side to accompany you on the digital journey throughout the entire cloud life cycle:

  Software procurement & license management

  Conception, implementation and support for IT infrastructures & IT solutions

  Courses and training for your staff

Ion-Modern Workplace from Ion-Management implements your requirements for a modern workplace, while providing a 360° care package based on its comprehensive portfolio for the time after successful roll-out as well. 


The acquisition of the various components of the Modern Workplace is both simple and complex.

You can simply acquire a Modern Workplace Suite such as Office 365 for all employees and get most of the way there.

The complexity of your organization however might dictate that is neither easy or cost effective and you must consider things like training costs, existing overlapping tools and licenses and so forth.

So the answer of how to acquire the modern workplace is going to be different for any two organizations, how much you already have invested in the component and what if any retraining may be needed.  Also the political impact of an enterprise wide acquisition may have unforeseen consequences.  We at Ion-Management favor an Enterprise Architectural approach that will give you the best return on your investment with minimal impact while improving your own ROI on IT and security, reliability and productivity across your organization.


When it comes to deployment of the Modern Workplace it should be obvious that using an integrated suite such as Microsoft Office 365 will make that job easier.  The more pieces you much integrate yourself the harder and more costly the deployment will come.  The complexity of multiple integrations even when considered in light of existing investments may outweigh the cost of overlapping licenses.

Process Improvement Process

What is Process Improvement in Organizational Development?

Process Improvement is the proactive task of identifying, analyzing and improving upon existing business processes within an organization for optimization and to meet new quotas or standards of quality. It often involves a systematic approach which follows a specific methodology but there are different approaches to be considered. Some examples are benchmarking or lean manufacturing, each of which focuses on different areas of improvement and uses different methods to achieve the best results. Processes can either be modified or complemented with sub-processes or even eliminated for the ultimate goal of improvement.

Process Improvement is an ongoing practice and should always be followed up with the analysis of tangible areas of improvement. When implemented successfully, the results can be measured in the enhancement of product quality, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, increased productivity, development of the skills of employees, efficiency and increased profit resulting in higher and faster return on investment (ROI).

Process improvement is a key feature of many BPM Software products.  These products serve to automate processes that are added into the software suite.  Once the processes are run via the software, process managers and executives can then see where improvements are needed within the process by looking at process completion times etc.


We at Ion-Management hope this series has helped you to adopt the Modern Workplace.  We are poised to help you further if needed.  We will continue to post useful articles in this blog.  In the next series we will address common problems that are solved with the Modern Workplace in detailed articles that address a single problem each.


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