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Happy New Year and thanks for visiting the ModernBiz blog! Whether your fiscal year starts in January or not, now is the perfect time for technology quick-wins to help make 2019 your best year in business, yet. Power up your organization with awesome tools and expert advice from Microsoft.

Give your people new ways to work! End the complaints about old tech and protect everyone’s interests with a few smart bets for your business.

Win #1: Group hub

A group hub (not hug!) is a digital destination your team shares to collaborate better. Designed to unite employees and reduce the volume of internal email, these intuitive, chat-based tools have come on strong in recent years. In fact, Microsoft Teams (which comes in Office 365 for Business) is officially the fastest growing business app in Microsoft history. (You can read the announcement here.)

Get the free version of Microsoft Teams. Designed for small businesses and coworkers who don’t have Office 365 subscriptions, the free version of Microsoft Teams supports up to 300 people and 40 languages!

Trending fast

Today, more than 329,000 organizations worldwide use Microsoft Teams with 54 customers who have more than 10,000 users. And no wonder! Microsoft has worked all the Skype for Business Online features and functionality into Microsoft Teams, making it a complete calling and meeting solution.

Why switch to Microsoft Teams? You can watch this video-on demand to learn why a move from Skype or a third-party product to Microsoft Teams makes so much sense for your business.

Win #2: Less stress

Do you stress over your security, or lack thereof? Unfortunately, antivirus software alone cannot protect your business from breaches and threats. Case in point: According to national cybersecurity study conducted by StatsCanover one-fifth (21 percent) of Canadian businesses reported that they were impacted by a security incident. Over half (58 percent) experienced downtime averaging 23 hours of lost productivity.

Time to act! All Canadian businesses face a clear and present danger from hackers and other criminals. But you’re not alone.

Beyond cybersecurity

Business leaders focus on their cybersecurity, but what about their physical security, data, networks, devices, and HR policies? Antivirus software alone cannot address the complex and evolving landscape of modern threats. Businesses need a layered (AKA integrated) security strategy instead.

Want more information about the Canadian threat landscape? You can download your copy of the Modern Threats to Small Business ebook here.

Business Self-Defense

You can also practice Business-Self Defense. Microsoft published security tips on every business day of Small Business Month last October. From phishing to mobile security, these Business Self-Defense tips cover many real-world security challenges small and medium-sized businesses face. You can visit the Business Self-Defense post here.

Win #3: More imagination

A historic convergence of technologies—including the Internet, cloud services, wireless networks, amazing devices, and technologies like artificial intelligence—offer Canadian businesses an unprecedented opportunity. With the right experts helping you—such as a Microsoft certified partner—your team can make the most of these technologies.

Empower your team

If you’re technically oriented, you can empower your IT team and developers with fantastic new tools. Azure, Microsoft’s integrated cloud toolbox, offers businesses all kinds of cost-effective computing, database, mobile, networking, storage, web and application services. From setting up a virtual server in a matter of minutes to app development, your tech team will love this collection of cloud services.

Create your Azure free account today. Your technical team can get started with 12 months of free services and CA $260 in Azure credits. Details here.

Get expert help

Another option is to talk to a Microsoft Certified Partner about what you want to do or dream of doing. In Canada, Microsoft has built the largest network of certified IT experts—over 10,000 companies. These third-party solution-providers go through rigorous and ongoing training to get certified. They are professionals you can trust with both the deep technical knowledge and practical business smarts.

If you don’t work with a Microsoft Certified Partner already, we can help with an introduction at the Microsoft Solution Providers page here.