Microsoft 365 Security

Microsoft 365 Defender
Beef Up Your Microsoft Cybersecurity

Microsoft 365 Defender: The Best Way To Beef Up Your Microsoft Cybersecurity

Don’t make any assumptions when it comes to your cybersecurity. No matter where a given hardware or software solution comes from, it’s not automatically secure enough “out of the box”.

This is as true of your smartphone as it is of Microsoft Office 365.

As a rule, you should always be concerned about security. It's a never-ending battle, and as such, it should always be considered when it comes to the technology you use at your organization. But what about Microsoft Office 365?

Designed according to Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle, Microsoft Office 365 is a Software-as-a-Service solution that uses a defense-in-depth approach to provide physical, logical, and data layers of security features and operational best practices. Plus, it offers enterprise-grade user and admin controls to further secure your environment — specifically, Microsoft 365 Defender.

What Is Office 365 Defender?

Microsoft 365 Defender is a comprehensive cybersecurity suite that handles a range of key defensive tasks before, during and after a breach. As an additional layer of security for your Microsoft accounts, it handles detection, prevention, investigation, and response across endpoints, identities, email, and applications.

Features include:

  • Activity Tracking
  • Anti Virus
  • Application Security
  • Behavioral Analytics
  • Device Management
  • Encryption
  • Signature Matching
  • Web Threat Management
  • Whitelisting/Blacklisting

Essentially, this solution is designed to protect you and your team while you use Microsoft solutions. Whether it’s email, endpoints, or user identities, Microsoft Defender has a solution to help defend them. Core offerings include:

  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint: This unified endpoint platform provides preventative defensive measures, post-breach detection, automated analysis, and investigation capabilities, and streamlined response methodologies.
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365: This solution protects your organization from a range of threats that target users through email, links (URLs), and collaboration tools. Microsoft Defender for Identity and Azure AD Identity Protection: Using Active Directory signals, this solution monitors and addresses advanced threats, compromised identities, and malicious insider actions occurring within your organization’s network.
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security: This solution protects your cloud activities and data, providing deep visibility, strong data controls, and enhanced threat protection.

Does Microsoft 365 Include Defender?

Availability of Microsoft Defenders depends both upon which Microsoft 365 subscription you have, and which Defender plan you require.

Defender for Office 365 Plan 1

Included with Microsoft 365 Business Premium, or as an add-on.


  • Safe Attachments
  • Safe Links
  • Safe Attachments for SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams
  • Anti-phishing protection in Defender for Office 365
  • Real-time detections

Defender for Office 365 Plan 2

Included with Office 365 E5, Office 365 A5, and Microsoft 365 E5, or as an add-on.


  • Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 capabilities
  • Automation, investigation, remediation, and education capabilities:
  • Threat Trackers
  • Threat Explorer
  • Automated investigation and response
  • Attack simulation training

How Do I Turn On Microsoft Office 365 Defender?

  1. Click the Windows logo in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  2. Scroll down the Start Menu and select Windows Security.
  3. On the Windows Security screen, check if any antivirus program has been installed and running on your computer.
  4. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  5. Next, select Virus & threat protection icon.
  6. Turn on for Real-time protection.

Enlist An Expert Team To Manage Your Microsoft Office 365 Security

Think you can handle your Microsoft 365 security on your own?

Maybe you can — in theory, it's entirely possible that, if you've invested in the right technologies, and have the right skill set, you could handle Microsoft 365 cybersecurity for your business all on your own. But, if we’re being honest… that’s a big if.

The more confident approach would be to have the National Networks team manage it for you. As your partner in Microsoft 365 security, we’ll handle the following for you:

  • Management of security patches and updates
  • Implementation of best practices for user privileges and access management
  • Ongoing management of data backup

We will employ a range of proven processes that will monitor and maintain your Microsoft 365 cybersecurity. Get in touch with our team to get started today.

Insider Threats

Are You Protected from Insider Threats?

Are You Protected from Insider Threats?

Employees are valuable assets to a business, but they are also considered to be insider threats.

As cybercriminals continue making headlines around the world with expensive and damaging cyberattacks, it is crucial for all organizations, large and small, to know about cyber threats and how to prevent them. Employees are valuable assets to a business, but they are also considered to be insider threats.

Whether they mean to or not, employees can greatly weaken the cybersecurity of your business. According to Chief Executive Magazine, more than 90% of cybersecurity incidents can be traced back to human error. The fact is what you and your staff don’t know can hurt you.

Often overlooked, your employees are the key to truly comprehensive cybersecurity. The best cybersecurity technology and practices can be undone by one staff member who doesn’t understand the role they play in cybersecurity, doesn’t know how to identify risks, or is actively trying to do damage from the inside.

Insider Threats

Insider threats refer to security risks that originate from within the organization. An insider threat is someone who is a part of your business network or has access to it. A current employee, a consultant, a former employee, a business partner, or even a board member can all be considered as insider threats.

There are 2 types of insider threats you must consider, monitor, and mitigate:

  1. Malicious Insider – A malicious insider is anyone with access to your network and sensitive data, who decides to exploit the privilege of access for financial gain or because they are disgruntled employees.
  2. Negligent Insider – A negligent insider is anyone with access to your network and sensitive data, who unknowingly falls victim to a cyberattack. They are negligent because they have either ignored existing security policies or haven’t been properly trained to identify risks.

When managing your staff, there are signs to watch out for to identify an insider threat. You should keep an eye out for the following behavioral and digital signs.

  • Behavioral – An employee or stakeholder could be a potential insider threat if they exhibit any of the following behavioral patterns:
    • Attempting to bypass security controls and safeguards
    • Frequently and unnecessarily spending time in the office during off-hours
    • Displaying disgruntled behaviors against co-workers and the company
    • Violating corporate policies deliberately
    • Discussing new opportunities and/or the possibility of resigning
  • Digital – An employee or stakeholder could be a potential insider threat if they exhibit any of the following digital activities:
    • Accessing or downloading substantial amounts of data
    • Attempting to access data and/or resources unrelated to his/her job function
    • Using unauthorized devices to access, manage, or store data
    • Browsing for sensitive data unnecessarily
    • Copying data from sensitive folders
    • Sharing sensitive data outside the business
    • Behaving differently from their usual behavior profile

How to Defend Against Insider Threats

Watching out for behavioral patterns and digital activities is one way to defend against insider threats. Many businesses give out administrator rights by default. This makes it easier for disgruntled employees to do serious damage to your system. Another way to defend against insider threats is to eliminate this vulnerability by limiting administrative privileges to those who actually require it and by protecting administrative accounts with the following:

  • Long, Complex Passwords
  • Multi-factor Authentication
  • Configure Alerts for Unsuccessful Logins
  • Limit Actions to Devices that are Air-gapped

The best and most effective way to defend your organization from insider threats is to properly train your employees on cybersecurity awareness. Cybercriminals continue to increase their efforts as technology evolves. For hackers, the best way to breach a network and obtain sensitive data is through untrained, non-technical staff members.

Attackers use popular techniques, such as email phishing and spearphishing, to trick employees into giving up sensitive information, which could lead to damaging ransomware attacks and more. If your staff is properly trained to identify risks, your company’s data may not be in jeopardy. Cybersecurity awareness training educates your employees on improving risky behaviors that can lead to security compromises.

When employees are trained to recognize risks, your organization adds an extra level of security. You will have more people, other than your IT department or IT partner, keeping an eye out for the security of your business. All staff members with training will be able to report any threats and will ensure that your information stays safe and secure.

National Networks Will Help Protect You Against Insider Threats

You don’t have to handle cybersecurity training and management of your team by yourself. National Networks is here to help. We provide robust cybersecurity training services for our managed services clients. We can also show you how to implement cybersecurity best practices that will limit malicious employees’ ability to do damage to your business.

Let’s get started today on your cybersecurity efforts and let’s protect you from Insider Threats, your employees. In Texas, give us a call at (409) 724-0440 or in Louisiana, give us a call at (337) 474-4249.

Tested Your Backup

When Was the Last Time You Tested Your Backup?

When Was the Last Time You Tested Your Backup?

Regular testing of your data backup and data recovery services is a crucial part of an IT strategy.

Hurricane Season is here, and it is important to make sure you have the right systems in place to protect and recover your data. Catastrophic data loss can result from hardware failures, natural disasters, cybersecurity attacks, system outages, or network disruptions. Backing up your data is imperative.

When was the Last Time Your IT Company Checked Your Data Backups?

If a critical part of your IT infrastructure fails or goes down for an extended period, are you confident that you will be able to recover all or parts of your data? According to research conducted by the University of Texas, 94% of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss do not survive, 43% never reopen, and 51% close within 2 years. Regular testing of your data backup and data recovery services is a crucial part of an IT strategy.

How Often Should You Test Your Data Backup and Data Recovery Services?

Your IT company should sit down with you to determine your data backup and data recovering frequency. National Networks will create a detailed Business Continuity program for your company. With daily on-site and off-site backups, and a second level of defense with cloud backups, National Networks offers solutions that focus on quick restoration of lost data to keep your business in continuous operation.

Insist that your IT company conduct regular data backup and data recovery tests. Have them show you document and proof whenever tests are conducted. It is suggested that at least once a year, you should simulate a complete failure of your system to ensure that all your IT resources come online on your backup systems.

The technicians at National Networks are specialists at implementing the necessary measures to keep a company’s data and workflow protected and available, regardless of the circumstance. Call National Networks today and make sure that your sensitive data and information are protected and recoverable.

State of Emergency

National Networks Natural Disaster Checklist

National Networks Natural Disaster Checklist

Significant rain pummels Louisiana and Texas, and a State of Emergency has been declared. Tornado Warnings have been issued with reports of tornados dropping hail the size of baseballs. Over 80 people were rescued in Lake Charles, LA, due to more than 13 inches of rainfall. Many areas have severe flooding, worse than what Hurricanes Laura and Delta produced.

The Gulf Coast has seen more than its fair share of dangerous and damaging storms in the past 9 months, and yet Mother Nature still has her eye on us. I’m sure most of us feel like we are still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Season. With another Hurricane Season upon us, businesses need to protect their operations, employees, and data.

Our certified and award-winning team at National Networks is doing everything we can to be prepared, and we are here to help you and your business as well. There are critical factors and activities that businesses need to consider while preparing for hurricanes, floods, fires, and whatever else Mother Nature will throw our way.

Hurricane Preparation Checklist:

  • Plan for the impact of an unexpected or catastrophic event on your business:
    • Review your property insurance coverage.
    • Check your hurricane evacuation level and FEMA flood maps to determine if your business location is vulnerable to storm surges or flooding.
    • Conduct a technology asset inventory to determine and document the mission-critical technology components.
    • Once key components are identified, determine what measures should be taken to protect and recover them.
  • Assess your data and technology needs in the event of a failure in operations:
    • Assess and test your existing disaster recovery plans.
    • Determine the vulnerability of your organization's technology infrastructure to natural disasters, including floods, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.
    • Always protect your data with backup files. Perform a data recovery test and address any shortcomings.
    • Check the integrity of the uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Move the UPS to the highest level possible above the floor.
  • Communicate your plan to employees and vendors:
    • Determine who needs to be contacted with critical information and develop a plan for contacting them.
    • Ensure an emergency communication plan is in place. Ensure employees know where to receive information and updates about whether they can return to work and what location.
    • Determine the need for a designated recovery site for your people to resume work.
  • Prepare to evacuate:
    • Pay attention to local guidance about updated plans for evacuations and shelters, including shelters for pets.
    • Follow COVID-19 safety and social distancing guidelines. Make sure you pack hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, masks, bar or liquid soap, as well as any items you deem necessary.
    • Follow safety precautions when using transportation to evacuate. Do not drive through heavily flooded areas.

You are not in this alone. National Networks is here to make sure your data and information are protected, safe, and recoverable. Please don’t wait until it’s too late. Let one of our experts help you through this set of horrible storms this week, and let us walk you through the necessary steps to safeguard your data and information before this year’s Hurricane Season. Call us today! In Texas, call (409) 724-0440, in Louisiana, call (337) 474-4249, or visit our website,


The Cost Of Ransomware On Your Small Business

The Cost Of Ransomware On Your Small Business

Ransomware is not something that should be taken lightly. For businesses of any size, ransomware can have detrimental effects on a company’s overall wellbeing. In this video, we discuss what effects a ransomware attack could have on your organization.

In recent years, there has been a change in the way cybercriminals make money. One of the newest ways they attack is through the use of ransomware. Ransomware is a type of encryption that prevents you from having access to your files until a ransom is paid. This method is commonly used by ransomware gangs that prey on companies of all sizes. They watch the practices of your business for a number of months and then place locks on your valuable information. This leaves your business vulnerable, while also forcing you to lose money through the ransom fee.

Many factors go into determining the cost of a ransomware attack. Searching “the costs of ransomware on a small business” will produce a variety of results. However, all of the experts agree that a ransomware attack will be very costly in one way or another. These losses can occur monetarily, reputationally, or in terms of your organization’s future security.

One major thing to consider with ransomware attacks is the reputation of your business. Customers want to work with a company they can trust. One that will protect all of their sensitive data. This means that you want to appear as trustworthy as possible to attract the most clients. If your company cannot protect itself, they will not think you can protect them. If a ransomware attack becomes public, you could lose out on tons of potential business, costing you even more than the ransom itself.

Million dollar businesses, global corporations, healthcare organizations, schools, and government offices all deal with ransomware attacks. There is no type of company that can escape this kind of threat. This means that you must do everything you can to make your business secure. Here are some of the ways that you can protect your organization:

  • Educate your employees on the threats of ransomware
  • Invest in the right cybersecurity solutions
  • Make business continuity a priority
  • Have the right outsourced IT company

You cannot fully predict how much harm will be done to your business by a ransomware attack. Because of this, you must always be prepared for the potential of this threat. If you would like help making your company more secure, or if you have additional questions about ransomware, reach out to us. At National Networks, we have a great team ready to assist you with all of your IT needs. Contact us online or by phone today.

Where To Spend Money On Your IT Systems

Where To Spend Money On Your IT Systems

Where To Spend Money On Your IT Systems

  • DON’T: Stop spending money on technology altogether.
  • DO: Spend money on the RIGHT technology to build business resilience.

We all know the state of the world and the economy right now. It’s uncertain, to say the least. Leaders across all industries are tempted to scale technology spending back. And it’s not only technology spending - but marketing, staffing, almost all areas.

But here’s the thing…

You can’t simply stop spending money on technology unless it’s absolutely, positively necessary - like when something goes terribly wrong. Although we understand the temptation, it’s important to continue embracing technology to build business resilience. Ultimately, you need to spend money on the RIGHT technology to increase business resilience:

  • Cloud-based applications that let your teamwork from home easily and securely when they need to.
  • Virtual private network (VPN) technology that helps you connect to the network in a safe, private manner.
  • Cloud-based business phone systems that let you make and receive calls from any location with an internet connection.

Let’s talk more about this. A 30-minute discussion could help you prosper throughout 2021, despite any economic uncertainty.

Cloud Desktops

Cloud Desktops Are Here To Stay

Cloud Desktops Are Here To Stay

Cloud desktops are having a resurgence after undergoing some much-needed improvements. Cloud desktops are the latest must-have item in technology. Are you going to take part in the future of cloud-based storage? In the following video, we discuss what cloud desktops are and why they are a necessity for every business.

Staying connected to others is a necessity during the covid-19 pandemic. Your work and your team should not suffer as a result of the inability to meet in person. By using cloud desktops you can stay connected with every member of your business and access all your work online. Thanks to continued updates and improvements that cloud desktops have been receiving for the past twenty years, they have gained quite the reputation for being a business pleaser. Similar to other forms of cloud technology, cloud desktops allow you to effortlessly access your work and that of others whenever and wherever you are at. Cloud-based storage eliminates the need of being at an office.

Cloud desktops make teaming up with others smooth and effortless. Having all your work stored remotely makes sharing files through your network easier than ever. These capabilities have been coveted by business professionals for years, which has put this technology in high demand. Previous attempts at this type of storage have been made over the years, but none have proven to be as effective, nor worth the time investment.

Decades-old options like Microsoft terminal servers and Citrix servers provided similar capabilities that cloud desktops now provide, however, they were plagued by unwanted infrastructure expenses, overly complex networking technologies, and requiring too much assistance to operate. These inconveniences were enough for businesses to avoid using these software and instead turn to alternative means. Thankfully, cloud desktops have eliminated the problems of the past and offer a better system that is suited for all businesses.

Some of the benefits of using cloud desktops are:

  • Being able to work from anywhere at any time
  • Knowing that your work is always safe and secure
  • No longer have to deal with the high costs of maintenance

Every day cloud technology is advancing and gaining more users. With the use of cloud technology, we are able to interact like never before and do so from any location. Cloud desktops are a great choice for any company.

Will You Make The Switch To Cloud Desktops?

Cloud desktops provide convenient solutions for any business looking for remote storage. If you are interested in learning more about cloud desktops, reach out to us. National Networks has a team of IT professionals that can deal with any IT situation your business will encounter. Contact us online or by phone today.

Microsoft Excel Pivot Tables Support

Microsoft Excel: Getting Started With Pivot Tables

Microsoft Excel: Getting Started With Pivot Tables

Interested in using pivot tables to analyze your data and make understanding your organization’s statistics easier? Pivot tables are a great way to get the most out of Microsoft Excel, especially when using it to decipher data. In this video, we discuss what a pivot table is and how you can use them to improve your business.

Pivot tables are a way for companies to analyze large amounts of data in Microsoft Excel. With them, you can examine differences, similarities, highs, and lows in datasets. The data used to create the pivot table is called the “source data”. Pivot tables have four different areas: row labels, values, column labels, and the report filter. Each column in the pivot table represents a different category of information.

How To Prep Your Data

Data must be prepared before using it in a pivot table. First, it must be organized into rows and columns, with no blank areas except for cells. Similar data must be in the same column as well. Column headings need to be formatted differently than your data so that the system is able to tell the difference between the two. One way to do this is to bold or center the data. You can also separate data from unnecessary information by creating a data island.

How To Create A Pivot Table

To create a pivot table, go to “insert”, either “recommended pivot tables” or “pivot table”, confirm the range you are using, hit “new worksheet” and then “ok”. To further build your pivot table, go to “pivot table fields” and choose the fields you wish to include. You can also customize which values are shown by hovering over a cell, right-clicking, selecting “number format”, choosing the category, and making the changes. You can also change how data is represented in the same area.

More Helpful Tips

Two tabs will be shown in the ribbon when a pivot table is open: “pivot table analyze” and “design”. Here you can refresh the table, which is not automatic, or do other helpful things. Please note that refreshing is important because it ensures that all the data you are working with is up to date. To do this, go to “pivot table analyze” and select “refresh” or use shortcut Alt + F5. If you are working with multiple tables, use “refresh all”.

If you find your dataset changing often and need to update your range, go to “change data source” and change the range. Specific rows can also be extracted by double-clicking on a value. When you do this a new pivot table will be created.

When you have multiple values in one pivot table, Excel will create groups. Next to each group, the “-” option will be shown. This collapses the details of the group so that you don’t have to see them. This can also be done by pressing “collapse field” in the ribbon.

To change the aesthetic (color, look, etc.) of the pivot table, go to “design”. Here you can also change how totals are displayed.

To filter a pivot table, use the row or column dropdown (depending on which you would like to filter) and select the categories you wish to see. Right-clicking on a value and choosing how you would like for it to be sorted also filters the pivot table. Values that were not used in the table can also be used to filter the data.

How Much Will Using Pivot Tables Help You?

Working with large amounts of data becomes so much easier when using pivot tables. Using this feature in Excel will keep your business more organized, saving you time and effort. To learn more about pivot tables or Microsoft Excel in general, contact us online or by phone. National Networks is prepared to help you with all your IT solutions, including working with pivot tables and other ways to analyze your data.

Question to ask service provider

Do You Know How Your Service Providers Are Keeping Your Personal Data Safe? 

Do You Know How Your Service Providers Are Keeping Your Personal Data Safe?

The way of the world is increasingly virtual. No matter what kind of services you’re receiving, chances are providers have some online record of your personal information. Did you know this makes you a major target for cybercrime and data theft? Here’s what to do about it.

Reduce Your Risk of Data Theft By Asking Service Providers This One Critical Question

When’s the last time you visited a service provider that keeps a hand-written file of your personal information secured away in a locked filing cabinet? Let’s face it. The days of on-paper records are nearly obsolete. Even if providers still keep things on paper, they without a doubt have a virtual copy too. These days, no matter where you go to receive financial, legal, or health services, chances are the personal data you’re required to provide is stored, accessed, and transmitted in an online environment.

Don’t get us wrong, this increase in virtualization has made life easier in major ways. Sharing information is much easier and gone are the days of having to fax or mail important documents or data to service providers. Because of this, services are often more streamlined and long wait-times have been greatly reduced. While service providers and clients have both reaped the benefits of this innovation, there is a significantly increased risk in storing and transmitting sensitive and confidential data online.

As more data gets stored and transmitted online, cybercriminals are increasingly trying to exploit the personal data of individuals with malicious intent. However, as virtualization continues to dominate, it’s highly unlikely that a return to more secure, on-paper personal records will ever be possible or desirable. That’s why, as an experienced team of IT security professionals, we’re on a mission to help individuals be more vigilant and proactive by making sure their data security is taken seriously by every service provider they interact with.

Getting Proactive About Data Security: The One Critical Question To Ask Service Providers

Let’s be real. Chances are you’ve probably never thought to ask service providers about data security. Don’t worry - you’re not alone. Most individuals hand over their personal information to trusted service-providers without giving it a second thought. Unfortunately, however, we hear stories all the time about individuals and organizations who have had their sensitive data hacked or exploited by malicious cybercriminals. However, it’s not all doom and gloom.

Here’s the good news though: you do not need to wait until their personal information is exploited to start taking data security more seriously. When armed with the right information, you can take charge of your data security. How? Start by making your concerns known right out of the gate.

It’s all about having an upfront and direct conversation with service providers any time you are required to hand over sensitive data of any kind. This might include the personal information you hand over to a lawyer, the financial information you hand over to a bank or accountant, the health records you hand over to a healthcare provider, or really, the sensitive data you’re required to hand over to any service provider you’re involved with.

Even though it might feel daunting or awkward to have a conversation about data security with a doctor, lawyer, or financial advisor, it’s absolutely critical that you make sure service providers understand that you take your data security seriously. Further, the conversation doesn’t have to be daunting or overly complicated.

Here’s the best advice we can offer. Anytime you’re working with a service provider who requires your personal data to be stored and transmitted, ask them one simple question before handing over any data: “how are you going to protect my personal and confidential information?” It’s really that simple to keep the lines of communication open. Still not convinced it’s worth the effort? Keep reading to understand why this is so important.

Cybercriminals Want Your Data & Service Providers Are Responsible for Keeping It Secure

Asking this proactive question to service providers about the importance of your data security is about mitigating risk - but it’s about holding service providers accountable. Cybersecurity and data protection is a critical responsibility that rests on the shoulders of any business, organization, or service provider that you work with. Regardless of the industry or the services they provide you, service providers are required to take reasonable measures to ensure client data remains secure.

The majority of these service providers are required to maintain strict industry and government cybersecurity compliance standards and they must have clear and strict policies in place to protect your information. These policies and compliance regulations should be made available to you so you understand exactly what organizations are doing to maintain a secure and compliant data environment.

Wondering why these organizations are so highly regulated and held to high standards when it comes to data security? Check out some of the key reasons why individual data security is such a pressing concern - especially in an increasingly virtual service environment.

How you became the number one target for savvy cybercriminals:

  • Hackers and cybercriminals are getting smarter and savvier than ever before - they are constantly evolving and developing new strategies for getting their hands on the most valuable data in the virtual world.
  • Whereas malicious cybercriminals used to target big organizations for huge payoffs, they’re now realizing that organizations have the resources to invest in durable and multi-layered cybersecurity defenses that are increasingly difficult to penetrate.
  • The result? Cybercriminals are adapting and following the money. They now realize that there’s more success to be enjoyed if individual end-consumers are targeted instead of highly-defended enterprises.
  • This means more and more cybercriminals are trying to use a variety of scams and blackmail attempts to target people like you: consumers who unwittingly hand over personal and confidential data to critical service providers in good faith.
  • Let’s explore what this might look like. Say a cybercriminal hacks into the network for a law firm, doctor's office, accounting firm, or any other service provider that stores and transmits your personal data. Instead of going after the business itself by trying to penetrate enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions in pursuit of a million-dollar payoff, they’re now focused on targeting the individual clients of these service providers.
  • Why? Largely because they know that it’s much easier to prey on unsuspecting individual victims by blackmailing them with the demand for cash in exchange for promising not to release confidential data. These cybercriminals realize there is a better chance of getting multiple smaller payouts from desperate and frightened individuals instead of one big pay-off from the company that is investing in major resources and training to prevent cybercrime.

The moral of the story? Even though service providers may be spending thousands of dollars to bring in expert solutions and protect their own data and business continuity, it doesn’t guarantee that your data is secure. Asking them to explain how your own data will be protected demonstrates that you’re not willing to be the new easy target for the cybercriminals they’re trying to mitigate.

Some Final Words of Advice on Protecting Your Personal Data

Don’t forget, it’s important to ask every service provider you work with to explain explicitly how they will make sure your data remains secure. You should also ask them to outline their policy for informing clients in the case of a data breach. The more you insist that service providers be transparent about data security, the more seriously they will take the protection of your personal information.

WARNING: any service provider who refuses to answer your questions or gives you vague information about their approach to data security should be immediately suspect. The fact of the matter is, in an increasingly virtual environment, there is no room for shortcuts when it comes to data security. If a service provider can’t answer your simple and fair questions, it’s time to find a new lawyer, accountant, healthcare provider, or business partner.

Our motto is that when it comes to data security, there is no such thing as being too informed or overly-prepared. Stay informed and up-to-date on existing threats and check-in with service providers now and then to inquire about data security updates. If you need support or want to learn more about how to prioritize your data security and take it seriously, never hesitate to reach out to a team of cybersecurity consultants for more information and strategies for staying proactive.

We can help with all things data security. Give us a call anytime at (409) 724-0440, or visit our website at to chat with a live agent and book a data security consultation.

Microsoft Outlook Tips Lake Charles

10 Ways To Save Time In Microsoft Outlook

10 Ways To Save Time In Microsoft Outlook

Sometimes it feels like simple tasks take forever, adding more hours to your workday. How can you fix this? Make better use of the technology already available to you. With these ten tips and tricks, you will find yourself saving time in Microsoft Outlook, giving you more room to get back to the things you love doing.

Keep reading to see the ten best ways to save yourself time in Microsoft Outlook, while boosting your productivity.


Using rules turns Outlook into a personal assistant. Rules are designed to automate manual actions that would usually take time and effort. Creating a rule gives instructions to Outlook so that it can process messages in a predetermined way. Some examples of what you can do with rules are sending specific messages to folders, assigning categories, deleting messages, or forwarding a message.

To create a rule, right-click your example message, hover over “rules”, select “create a rule”, choose your criteria, rename the rule, and hit “finish”. The “create a rule” button is also under the home tab. To limit the criteria further, by searching for things such as keywords related to certain clients, use advanced options. To change a rule after it has been made, go to “rules” and select “manage rules”. You can also use rules on already existing messages.

Favorite Folders

Creating favorite folders separates high priority folders from less used ones. Favorite folders are stored above navigation, making them easy to find in a rush. You can drag a folder to the favorites area to make it into one, or you can right-click on the folder to do the same thing. Favorite folders can be rearranged or removed at any time by right-clicking on them. You can quickly add a message to a favorite folder by dragging it there.

Convert Email To A Task

Converting emails into tasks makes scheduling a breeze. To complete this action, right-click the flag next to the message, set the time you want to do the task (custom times are available), and add a reminder. Or, you can open the message, click the “follow up” drop-down, set the time, and add the reminder. Additionally, you can drag the message to the task area to convert it. Once you are finished, consider moving the email to another folder so that you know it has been taken care of.

Convert Email To An Appointment

Another way to make scheduling easier is to convert an email to an appointment. To do this, hold down the right-click on the mouse while hovering over the message, drag to your calendar, and select the appointment type. If others need to attend the appointment with you, change it to a meeting and send invites.

Read Aloud

Read aloud will read messages to you, saving you time and effort. Please note that read aloud is called immersive reader in Outlook for the web. To enable read aloud, go to “file”, click “options”, select “ease of access” and then “show read aloud”. To use this feature, select “read aloud” in the message tab. After you do this, you will be shown a toolbar. This toolbar can play or pause the audio. You can also change the voice or speed of read aloud at any time. To hear a message from a specific point, double click the point and hit play.


Dictation is similar to speech to text. It allows you to verbally say what you would like to send, and Outlook will write the message for you. It is only available to Microsoft 365 subscribers with the Outlook desktop app.

Dictation can be found under the message tab, within the dictate dropdown. When using this feature, always say which punctuation you would like to use (“period” for .). Make any edits you need after you are done speaking. Dictation can be used in the subject line of your message or the body.

Delay Delivery

When working outside of standard hours, delay delivery may be useful to you. When using delay delivery, you can write a message at any time, but send it to the recipient later. For example, you could write a message to John at 10:00 pm am on Sunday and have it delayed until 8:00 am Monday morning. To write a delayed delivery message, create or reply to an email, click “options”, select “delay delivery”, choose “options”, and send the message.

Quick Steps

Quick steps allow you to apply multiple actions to a message with just one click of a button. Meaning you could have a message from Jordan sent to your Finance folder and forwarded to Adam all at once. Quick steps are located on the home tab of your ribbon. Be aware that these functions are not always active, they are only used when you initiate them. Quick steps can be easily customized, and they can be created or deleted at any time.

To make a quick step, go to “quick steps” under the home tab, click “create new”, name the quick step, choose the actions that it will complete, add actions as needed to get the desired effect, and “finish”. At this time you can also make a shortcut. This will help you be able to access the quick step often. You can also change the order of your quick steps, edit a quick step, and duplicate or delete one by going to “manage quick steps”.

Quick Parts

Quick parts make sending repetitive emails easier. They act as templates for content you send regularly. To create a quick part, start a new message, type and edit the message, highlight the section you would like to make into a quick part, select “insert”, and go to “quick parts”. Then, click “save section to quick part gallery”, give it a name, pick the category it will go in, add a description, and choose your options.

To use a quick part, have your cursor in the body of the message, go to “insert”, then “quick parts”, pick the one you would like to use, and edit as needed. To replace a quick part, repeat the above steps and select “replace quick part” when prompted by Outlook. Hover over the existing quick part, right-click, and select “organize and delete” to replace one as well. Be aware that you can use more than one quick part in any message.

Quick Access Toolbar

The quick access toolbar allows you to use lots of different features at the press of a button. The toolbar is located above the ribbon, but can also be moved to below the ribbon by selecting the drop-down and clicking “show below the ribbon”. The toolbar also has its own version in each different area of Outlook, making it even more useful.

To customize the toolbar, click the drop-down next to the undo button and choose which features you would like to show on it. There are numerous options, and you can even include some features mentioned prior, like delayed delivery or quick parts. To change the order of features shown or which ones are available, select the drop-down and go to “more commands”. You can also right-click on the toolbar and choose “customize quick access toolbar”.

How Much Easier Will Your Workday Be Now?

No one wants to spend time on simple tasks when they could be working on other, more important things. With these time-saving tips, you will be able to open up your schedule for the things you would rather be doing. Microsoft Outlook can be a very useful tool if you know how to use it properly. For more information on how to get better with Outlook or other systems, contact us. At National Networks, we have IT professionals that can assist you with any of your technology concerns. We are here to make your job easier!