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BUI Announces Commitment to Respecting Data by Becoming a 2024 Data Privacy Week Champion

BUI Announces Commitment to Respecting Data by Becoming a 2024 Data Privacy Week Champion

This year’s initiative emphasises educating businesses on data collection best practices that respect data privacy and promote transparency

BUI announced its commitment to Data Privacy Week 2024 by registering as a Champion. As a Champion, BUI recognises and supports the principle that all organisations share the responsibility of being conscientious stewards of personal information. Data Privacy Week is an annual expanded effort from Data Privacy Day – taking place from 21st – 27th of January 2024. The goal of Data Privacy Week is to spread awareness about online privacy among individuals and organisations. The goal is twofold: to help citizens understand that they have the power to manage their data and to help organisations understand why it is important that they respect their users’ data.

How To Prioritize Data Privacy With Your Customers

The US National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) recommends adopting the following market leading practices:

  • Be transparent about how you collect, use, and share consumers’ personal information.
  • Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used.
  • Design settings to protect their information by default.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization, as well as the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.

Engage the experts

Remember that most employees aren’t privacy or security experts. You will need to build in mechanisms that make it easy for them to report privacy and security concerns to your experts. Just like tools for preventing privacy incidents are critical, tools that easily empower employees to report are necessary in your company’s privacy toolbox, too.

Outsourcing to professional cybersecurity companies takes a load off your plate and ensures you have the data protection you deserve.

Take Control of your data

All your online activity generates a trail of data. Websites, apps, and services collect data on your behaviours, interests, and purchases. Sometimes, this includes personal data, like your Social Security and driver’s license numbers. It can even include data about your physical self, like health data – think about how a smartwatch counts and records how many steps you take.

While it’s true that you cannot control how each byte of data about you and your family is shared and processed, you are not helpless! In many cases, you can control how you share your data with a few simple steps. Remember, your data is precious, and you deserve to be selective about who you share it with!

Follow these steps to better manage your personal information and make informed decisions about who receives your data.

About Data Privacy Week

Data Privacy Week began as Data Privacy Day in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the 28th of January 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. NCA, the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness, leads the effort in North America each year. 

For more information, visit https://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-week/.

About the National Cybersecurity Alliance

The National Cybersecurity Alliance is a non-profit organisation on a mission to create a more secure, interconnected world. We advocate for the safe use of all technology and educate everyone on how best to protect ourselves, our families, and our organisations from cybercrime. We create strong partnerships between governments and corporations to amplify our message and to foster a greater “digital” good.

For more information about Data Privacy Week and how to get involved, visit https://staysafeonline.org.

Improve your cybersecurity posture with an expert partner.

Cybercriminals are targeting enterprises big and small to try to gain access to sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data and resources.

How are you protecting your IT environment? Stay ahead of threat actors by choosing a managed detection and response service from BUI.

BUI is an Azure Expert MSP for the 4th year running

The Azure Expert MSP certification is a hallmark of excellence that acknowledges our end-to-end cloud capabilities.

BUI has been recognised as a Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Services Provider (MSP) for the fourth year in a row!

“When we first achieved Azure Expert MSP status in 2020, it was a significant accomplishment for our company and a key milestone in our longstanding relationship with Microsoft,” says Ryan Roseveare, our Global CEO. “Since then, we have diversified our range of cloud solutions to help customers leverage the speed, scale, and security of Azure to enable innovation and sustainable growth in their own businesses.”

“We are thrilled to have renewed our Azure Expert MSP certification for the fourth consecutive year,” continues Roseveare. “As the premier Azure designation for Microsoft partners, this accreditation is an acknowledgement of the depth and breadth of our cloud-management capabilities and our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of customer service.”

The Azure Expert MSP certification is a hallmark of excellence

Microsoft launched the Azure Expert MSP programme in 2018 as a way to showcase the most skilled and capable Azure managed services providers. To participate in the programme, Microsoft partners must pass an independent audit of their people, processes, and technologies – and prove that they can deliver high-fidelity Azure managed services and world-class technical support to customers. BUI was evaluated in September this year.

“We underwent an intensive third-party review of our teams, our Azure methodologies and frameworks, our competencies, our corporate performance, our customer successes, and much more,” explains Dhiren Boodhia, our Group Governance and Compliance Manager. “These annual audits are always in-depth, but this year’s assessment was particularly comprehensive – and we excelled in all areas. We are delivering outstanding work for our customers and this Azure Expert MSP re-certification is a testament to the passion and dedication of everyone here,” says Boodhia.

Willem Malan, our Chief Technology Officer, agrees. “There are more than 400 000 Microsoft partner organisations around the world and only 132 of them are currently certified as Azure Expert MSPs.

Globally, BUI is in the top tier of Microsoft partners with the necessary expertise and experience to design, deploy, manage, secure, and optimise business solutions on Azure,” says Malan. “Whether it’s a straightforward lift-and-shift migration or a complex digital transformation project, we can support customers at every stage of their Azure journey, and beyond.”

Recognition of our end-to-end Microsoft expertise

In addition to our credentials as an Azure Expert MSP and Microsoft Solutions Partner for Microsoft Cloud, we’re proud to be a Microsoft Security Experts MXDR Partner, a member of the prestigious Microsoft Intelligent Security Association, and a three-time Microsoft Country Partner of the Year holding 10 Microsoft Advanced Specializations including Cloud Security, Infra and Database Migration to Microsoft Azure, and Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop.

“We have earned our standing as Azure experts because we’ve invested in our people, our business, and our relationship with Microsoft,” continues Malan. “We’re enabling our cloud teams to develop cutting-edge technical skills. We’re expanding into new markets. And we’re working closely with Microsoft as the cloud landscape changes. We’re doing all of this to ensure that our customers continue to receive the best possible advice and support – and the right Azure solutions for their business needs.”

The BUI Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) plays an important role in this regard, notes our governance and compliance head. “The Azure administrators, architects, consultants, developers, engineers, and security specialists in our CCoE are Microsoft certified professionals adept in the principles of the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework. We follow Microsoft’s established codes, guidelines, and best practices on every Azure project to make sure that our customers’ connected environments are well-managed and fully optimised for performance, security, and compliance,” says Boodhia.

Re-certification as an Azure Expert MSP validates our exceptional cloud-management capabilities and gives our current and future customers peace of mind, says chief executive Roseveare. “With more than two decades of success in the technology sector, a global footprint, and verified Azure experts specialising in everything from cloud infrastructure to cloud security, BUI is a trusted Microsoft partner equipped to deliver impactful results and real value for business organisations from Day 1, and every day thereafter. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Microsoft, and to helping our mutual customers achieve more with Azure,” Roseveare concludes.

Need a hand managing, optimising and protecting your Azure environment?

From foundational support and monitoring to full-scale management and continuous optimisation, our cloud experts are here to help you achieve more with Azure.

Explore our Azure managed services today.

BUI supports global security awareness campaign

BUI supports global security awareness campaign

BUI is proud to participate in Cyber Security Awareness Month as a Champion Organisation for the sixth consecutive year. Founded in 2004, Cyber Security Awareness Month (held each October) is the world’s foremost initiative aimed at promoting cyber security awareness and best practices. The campaign is a collaborative effort among businesses, government agencies, colleges and universities, associations, non-profit organisations, communities and individuals to educate others about online safety.

“Knowledge and vigilance are essential when it comes to cyber security,” says BUI Global CEO Ryan Roseveare. “You need to know what to look out for. You need to know what to do when you see a red flag. And you need to be alert whenever you’re online. Cyber Security Awareness Month plays a key role in educating the public about common cyber risks and encouraging everyone to become more vigilant. BUI is pleased to join the international community in this focused effort to improve cyber security awareness worldwide.”

From smartphones to web-enabled home devices, technology is deeply intertwined with our lives. And while the evolution of technology accelerates, cybercriminals are working just as hard to find ways to compromise technology and disrupt our personal and business activities.

Cyber Security Awareness Month aims to highlight some of the emerging challenges that exist in the world of cyber security today and provide straightforward, actionable guidance which anyone can follow to create a safer, more secure digital world for themselves and their loved ones.

Starting this year, the new theme of Cyber Security Awareness Month is Secure Our World. The main messaging revolves around four cyber security practices:

  1. Creating strong passwords and using a password manager. The strongest passwords are long and unique, with a mixture of character types (lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols).
  2. Enabling multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, adds an extra layer of security to digital accounts by making secondary authentication mandatory.
  3. Recognising and reporting phishing. Public awareness is essential as cybercriminals continue to refine their tactics for phishing scams conducted through emails, text messages, chats, and phone calls.
  4. Keeping software updated. The latest updates and security patches are important to install to ensure that operating systems, internet browsers, and applications are safeguarded.
  5. Cyber Security Awareness Month continues to build momentum and impact with the goal of providing everyone with the information they need to stay safe online. BUI is proud to support this far-reaching online safety awareness and education initiative, which is co-managed by the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

    For more information about the 2023 Cyber Security Awareness Month campaign, you can visit the CISA and Stay Safe Online websites. You can also follow BUI on LinkedIn, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) for helpful tips and resources throughout October, and join the global conversation by including the hashtag #CyberSecurityAwarenessMonth in your own social media posts.

Improve your security posture with an award-winning technology partner.

Cybercriminals are targeting enterprises big and small to try to gain access to sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data and resources. How are you protecting your IT environment?

Stay ahead of threat actors by choosing a comprehensive managed extended detection and response service from BUI. Contact our team to explore Cyber MXDR today.

BUI earns ISO 22301 certification

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.

Industry certifications to help boost your cybersecurity career

Keen to improve your job prospects in the field of cybersecurity? BUI Cloud Security Architect Neil du Plessis highlights the credentials that could give you a competitive advantage.

There’s a high demand for cybersecurity specialists equipped to help organisations defend themselves against cyberattacks. Industry certifications that validate your cybersecurity experience can be a great way to publicise your abilities, increase your earning potential, and boost your career prospects in this field.

Microsoft, the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, Offensive Security, and eLearnSecurity provide some of the most comprehensive cybersecurity certification courses on the market, according to BUI Cloud Security Architect Neil du Plessis.

Microsoft’s cybersecurity training path

Microsoft offers a variety of cybersecurity training options to help you achieve technical certifications that showcase your industry-relevant skills. Du Plessis advises starting with the SC-900 certification to get to grips with the fundamentals of Microsoft’s security, compliance, and identity solutions.

“You’ll gain valuable insights into the relationship between these solutions and how they can be leveraged to ensure end-to-end cybersecurity. After that, you can move on to technology-specific and role-based certifications in security operations, identity and access management, and information protection, in line with what you want to achieve professionally.”

Du Plessis recommends the following order:

“Microsoft has outlined its own recommended path for individuals looking to specialise in security, compliance, and identity, but I think you can adapt this learning journey to suit your personal outcomes,” says Du Plessis.

Quick Tip | The Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Training and Certifications Guide contains more information about the SC-900, AZ-500, MS-500, SC-400, SC-300, SC-200, and SC-100 certifications, and Microsoft Learn has an extensive collection of free training materials to aid your studies and exam preparation.

Cybersecurity certifications from (ISC)²

The International Information System Security Certification Consortium – or (ISC)² – offers technology professionals a range of information security certifications. (ISC)² certifications are recognised globally and deal with everything from security administration to operations and management. These are the four that Du Plessis suggests:

Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) is an entry-level certification aimed at graduates, beginners, and novice practitioners in the field. “It’s designed to give you the foundational knowledge required to start a career in cybersecurity,” says Du Plessis. “If you’re new to the industry or perhaps changing your job focus, this could be the first rung on the ladder as you develop your skills.”

Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) is a credential that proves your ability to implement, monitor, and manage IT systems and infrastructure securely. “It’s a way to demonstrate your holistic understanding of the best practices, accepted policies, and international standards regarding security operations,” says Du Plessis. The SSCP certificate is a popular choice among experienced systems administrators, systems analysts, and systems engineers.

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) is best suited for information security leaders with experience in cloud security architecture, design, operations and orchestration. “With the CCSP certification behind your name, prospective employers will know that you have advanced capabilities when it comes to protecting critical cloud assets,” says Du Plessis.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is widely regarded as the globe’s premier cybersecurity certification. “But it doesn’t come easy,” notes Du Plessis. “CISSP certification requires a substantial investment of both time and money. There’s a staggering volume of course information to get through, but the reward is well worth it. Plus, the credential itself can open new doors for you.”

In the United Kingdom, the CISSP certification is comparable to Level 7 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework. And in South Africa, many universities will accept CISSP as recognition of prior learning if you pursue a postgraduate study programme (to achieve an Honours degree, for example).

(ISC)² offers several other certifications, but Du Plessis cautions that they’re geared toward professionals in particular disciplines or industries. “If your focus area is governance and compliance, or risk management, then Certified Authorisation Professional (CAP) may be a good path to explore. But if your responsibilities include protecting sensitive patient data and medical records, then becoming a Healthcare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP) might make more sense.”

Quick Tip | The (ISC)² Cybersecurity Qualification Pathfinder tool can help you decide which certifications match your current and future career goals.

Niche credentials for specialised jobs in cybersecurity

Penetration testing and digital forensic investigation are highly specialised fields that require cybersecurity pros to expand their practical, technical, and analytical capabilities. “For those with the necessary credentials in these niches, there’s certainly no shortage of work,” remarks Du Plessis. “At BUI, our penetration testers are booked months in advance. And worldwide, there’s a growing demand for forensic experts who can help organisations uncover evidence of cybercrime.”

The OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional) course presented by Offensive Security is considered far more technical than other ethical-hacking qualifications on the market. “It’s also one of the few cybersecurity certifications that requires students to prove their practical skills in a test environment,” adds Du Plessis. “The combination of hands-on training and real-world simulation is hugely beneficial.”

The certifications offered by eLearnSecurity are also worth looking into – especially if you want to narrow your focus by specialising in penetration testing for web or mobile applications, says Du Plessis. The eLearnSecurity Certified Professional Penetration Tester (eCPPT) credential is recognised on all seven continents, and the Web Application Penetration Tester eXtreme (eWPTX) and Mobile Application Penetration Tester (eMAPT) certifications are respected in IT circles.

The eLearnSecurity Certified Digital Forensics Professional (eCDFP) accreditation is designed for senior technologists with existing cybersecurity knowledge. It focuses on the processes and methodologies used in modern digital forensics investigations.

These cybersecurity certifications are just a starting point. It’s always a good idea to do additional research to see what fits best for you. “Keep an eye on cybersecurity news sites, group forums, and social media, too,” advises Du Plessis. “The security industry is evolving rapidly. If you’re in the loop, then you’ll be able to update your skills accordingly with the right certifications.”

Join our global team of extraordinary technologists.

Bring your talents, skills, and unique perspectives to a collaborative community of technology professionals.

We’re always excited to grow the BUI community! Take a look at our current vacancies, listed on our career portal.

Four basic online safety tips to remember

If you look out for phishing scams, protect your passwords, and update your devices regularly, then you can improve your online safety.

Cybersecurity has become one of the biggest topics inside and outside of technology circles over the past two years. From securing personal devices for digital learning and remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguarding corporate data against cyberattacks, there’s been a seemingly endless news cycle dedicated to concerns around online safety.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or even powerless in the face of rapidly increasingly cybercrime, especially when there are fresh headlines about data breaches and phishing scams almost every day. But end-users – the people using technology to communicate, collaborate and connect – have an important role to play as the first line of defence when it comes to thwarting scammers, fraudsters and threat actors.

Unfortunately, many individuals are not aware of the most basic cybersecurity practices for everyday life. During Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October, Champion organisations like BUI are trying to change that – by sharing practical, actionable tips to help everyone #BeCyberSafe. Here are four basic online safety tips that you can implement right now.

1 | Watch out for phishing scams

Phishing (when a cybercriminal poses as a legitimate party in the hope of getting individuals to engage with malicious content or links) remains one of the most popular tactics among cybercriminals. In fact, about 90% of data breaches occur due to phishing, according to Cisco’s 2021 Cybersecurity Threat Trends report.

While phishing has grown more sophisticated, suspicious email characteristics (like poor spelling and grammar, typos, low-quality graphics and fake logos in a message) can be a tell-tale sign that the content is risky. Read our explainer blogs – Phishing: Can you spot these common types? and Three ways to shore up your defences against phishing – to learn more.

And remember… If you think you have spotted a phishing attempt, be sure to report the incident to your internal IT teams and service providers so that they can remediate the situation and prevent others from possibly becoming victims.

2 | Protect your passwords

Having a unique, long and complex password for each of your accounts is one of the simplest ways to boost your online safety. And yet, only 43% of the public say that they “always” or “very often” use strong passwords, according to the National Cybersecurity Alliance’s 2022 Cybersecurity Attitudes and Behaviours Report.

Password cracking is one of the go-to tactics that cybercriminals turn to in order to access sensitive information. And if you are a “password repeater”, once a cybercriminal has hacked one of your accounts, they can easily do the same across all of your accounts. Read our blog – The importance of digital identity management – to find out why it’s vital to make your login credentials rock solid.

3 | Enable multifactor authentication

Multifactor authentication or MFA – which prompts a user to input a second set of verifying information or to sign-in via an authenticator app – is a very effective measure that anyone can employ to reduce the chances of a cybersecurity breach.

According to Microsoft, MFA can block over 99.9% of account compromise attacks. Therefore, it is a must for any individual who is looking to secure their devices and accounts. Remember, multifactor authentication – from one-time PINs to biometric scans – will put an extra barrier between your sensitive data and the cybercriminals who want to access it.

Read our blog – Three simple ways to improve your data privacy – to explore other ways of protecting your personal information.

4 | Turn on automatic updates

Making sure that your devices are up to date should be an essential part of your cybersecurity routine. Don’t ignore software updates and patches! Cybersecurity is an ongoing effort, and updates are important for device maintenance and security.

Instead of trying to remember to check for updates, enable automatic updates whenever you can. This way, you’ll reduce your chances of having older, possibly vulnerable or risky versions of software that could be exploited by cybercriminals.

BUI is proud to be a Champion organisation for the 2022 edition of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This article was originally provided by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and is republished here with permission.

Improve your cybersecurity posture with an expert partner.

Cybercriminals are targeting enterprises big and small to try to gain access to sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data and resources.

How are you protecting your IT environment? Stay ahead of threat actors by choosing a managed detection and response service from BUI.

Three awards for BUI as Microsoft SA honours top partners

We scooped three prestigious accolades at the 2022 Microsoft South Africa Partner Awards.

We’re excited to announce that we won the Azure Infrastructure Partner of the Year Award, the Modern Work Partner of the Year Award, and the Security Partner of the Year Award at the FY22 Microsoft South Africa Partner Awards on 28 September 2022.

The gala dinner and prizegiving ceremony took place at the Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch in Sandton, where members of the local Microsoft Partner ecosystem gathered together, in person, for the first time since 2019. Microsoft SA’s awards evenings in 2020 and 2021 were held virtually as lockdown protocols remained in place at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Celebrating innovation

The Microsoft SA Partner Awards are presented annually to acknowledge the partner organisations that have excelled in delivering Microsoft solutions over the past 12 months. Award submissions are reviewed by a panel of judges and entries are evaluated in terms of partner competencies, cloud transformation, entrepreneurial spirit, and sales performance, among other factors.

This year, Microsoft SA CEO Lillian Barnard praised partners for pushing beyond all limits to modernise, transform, and enable success for enterprises in South Africa and around the world. In her opening speech on the night, Barnard remarked: “Let me start first by just expressing my gratitude on behalf of the Microsoft company for all that you’ve done in our markets, and in our business. The work that you continue to do in our country is just simply inspiring. You are driving digital transformation and innovation, and you are doing this with a deep sense of commitment.”

Driving transformation

BUI was named Azure Infrastructure Partner of the Year for its proven success in helping customers modernise their infrastructure and migrate their applications and data to the cloud. “We’re always thrilled to receive this award,” says Managing Director Ryan Roseveare, highlighting the ninth time that BUI has won this award.

“This accolade is a tremendous achievement in recognition of our team’s focus and positive outcomes. It’s also a validation of our consistency, our high standard of work, and our dedication to our customers. We’re actively driving digital transformation by helping businesses to become more agile and more resilient with Azure’s extensive range of solutions,” adds Roseveare.

Enabling productivity

As the Modern Work Partner of the Year, BUI was acknowledged for enabling performance and productivity with Microsoft’s comprehensive set of cloud-powered tools for the modern workplace. “From Office 365 to Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Viva, we’re empowering customers with the technology they need to communicate and collaborate effectively in remote and hybrid scenarios,” says National Sales Manager Paul Wallett.

“We’re also supporting our customers as they adapt to new ways of working, and making sure that they’re able to leverage the full power of the cloud and the Microsoft resources at their disposal to take their enterprises to the next level,” he continues. “The whole BUI team is invested in creating real value for customers – by delivering cutting-edge business solutions and world-class service.”

Accelerating security

Roseveare is thrilled to take home the Security Partner of the Year award yet again – especially after the recent expansion of BUI’s security portfolio. “In an environment where the right skills are harder to find than ever before, we’re putting more energy and focus into our security solutions and services – because customers are looking for trusted partners to help them protect their digital environments. From our own Cyber SoC and MDR facilities, and as part of Microsoft Security Experts, we’re helping businesses to manage and strengthen their cyber defences,” he says.

“We’ve earned our reputation as a leader in the security space by combining talent and technology,” notes Wallett. “Our security operations division includes some of the most highly skilled and highly certified professionals in the country, and we’re constantly innovating with the Microsoft stack to offer our customers bespoke solutions to accelerate their security.”

With three new Microsoft Partner of the Year awards to celebrate, Wallett and Roseveare are quick to praise the BUI team. “I’m so proud of everyone,” says Wallett. “It’s rewarding to receive these accolades and to be acknowledged in our industry, but none of it would be possible without the dedication shown by our people every day.” Roseveare agrees. “It’s wonderful to see the team’s efforts honoured by Microsoft. We look forward to another year of collective success as we continue to support customers through every stage of the cloud journey,” he concludes.

Improve your cybersecurity posture with an expert partner.

Cybercriminals are targeting enterprises big and small to try to gain access to sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data and resources.

How are you protecting your IT environment? Stay ahead of threat actors by choosing a managed detection and response service from BUI.

BUI named MXDR partner for Microsoft’s new business security services

BUI is proud to announce its selection as a Managed Extended Detection and Response (MXDR) partner for Microsoft’s new business security services, Microsoft Security Experts.

Microsoft Security Experts was unveiled this month and includes three new managed services: Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting, Microsoft Defender Experts for XDR, and Microsoft Security Services for Enterprise. Two existing services – Microsoft Security Services for Modernization and Microsoft Security Services for Incident Response – are now also part of this portfolio.

As an MXDR partner, BUI will work in conjunction with Microsoft to manage extended detection and response services for some of the largest enterprise customers globally, from threat monitoring to mitigation and investigation.

“We’re excited to continue our security journey with Microsoft,” says BUI Managing Director Ryan Roseveare. “This new collaboration builds on our longstanding relationship, and we look forward to working alongside Microsoft to help customers protect and defend their IT environments from emerging cyberthreats.”

A timely development

In 2021, Microsoft security technology blocked over 9.6 billion malware threats and more than 35 billion phishing emails and malicious messages. “Technology is critical, but it’s the combination of leading technologies, comprehensive threat intelligence, and highly skilled people that makes for a truly effective security posture,” notes Vasu Jakkal, Microsoft Corporate Vice President: Security, Compliance, Identity, and Management.

Roseveare agrees. “The cybersecurity landscape is incredibly complex. You need comprehensive tools and holistic knowledge to navigate it successfully. Here at BUI, we’ve focused on building both: our Cyber Security Operations Centre is a state-of-the-art facility designed to leverage and integrate with Microsoft technology, and our security specialists are world-class technologists with a deep understanding of the challenges that businesses are facing today.”

BUI’s tried-and-tested blend of people, process and technology will be critical going forward, adds Roseveare, given the alarming increase in the number and sophistication of cyberattacks.

A trusted partner

BUI was part of a select group of Microsoft Partner organisations involved in the development of Microsoft Security Experts. As a Microsoft Azure Expert MSP, a managed security service provider, and a member of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association, BUI is consistently recognised as a strategic partner for cybersecurity innovation. BUI holds nine Microsoft Advanced Specializations – including Cloud Security and Threat Protection – and earned Microsoft South Africa’s Security Partner of the Year Award in 20212020, and 2019.

“We’re serious about security. We always have been,” says Roseveare. “We’ve earned the trust and loyalty of customers around the world because we provide the best possible security solutions and the right advice. As an MXDR partner for the Microsoft Security Experts portfolio, we’ll continue to put our expertise to work for customers – because we’re here to help them safeguard their business resources, from the endpoint to the cloud,” he concludes.

Improve your security posture with an expert partner.

Cybercriminals are targeting businesses large and small to try to gain access to sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data and resources.

What steps have you taken to prevent a breach? Stay ahead of threat actors by choosing a managed detection and response service from BUI.

Understanding Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience

Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience has reached Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform licensing in the Cloud Solution Provider programme – and there are significant changes coming in 2022.

Here at BUI, we’re already hard at work, helping our cloud customers to navigate the New Commerce Experience successfully.

We’re also fielding queries from business teams who are struggling to understand Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience. We hear you. And that’s why we’re tackling your most common questions today. You asked, and we’re answering. Let’s take a closer look.

Q. What is the New Commerce Experience?

A. The New Commerce Experience (NCE) is Microsoft’s integrated commercial platform, designed to simplify the sale of its cloud products and services globally.

Microsoft created the NCE to streamline and standardise licensing via Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs), Enterprise Agreements (EAs), and its own online portals – so that customers experience similar pricing and terms across a number of sales models.

In 2019, Microsoft implemented the NCE for CSPs, starting with Microsoft Azure. And since then, the NCE has been rolled out in stages. Today, customers with Azure Plan subscriptions – as well as those who buy Azure Reserved Instances, perpetual software, server software, and third-party apps and offers through CSPs – transact through the NCE platform.

In January 2022, Microsoft expanded the NCE to include commercial seat-based subscriptions for Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform in the CSP programme – and introduced new offers with new rules.

“The New Commerce Experience is the present and future of how Microsoft sells cloud products and services to customers, both directly and through partners… It will also make the selling process, requirements, and capabilities much more consistent across the Microsoft sales ecosystem.” – MICROSOFT

Q. What does the New Commerce Experience mean for my business?

A. Simply put, the NCE will change the way that you purchase Microsoft 365 (M365), Dynamics 365 (D365), and Power Platform subscriptions from your CSP. There are three key differences between the legacy CSP experience you’re familiar with and the NCE. It’s important to note:

1. The subscription options. Under the NCE, there are monthly and annual subscription options to help you cater for fixed and fluid staffing scenarios within your business.

  • Monthly subscriptions give you the freedom to purchase licences on a month-to-month basis as needed, and the flexibility to decrease the number of licences at the end of the month. There is, however, a 20% price premium for month-to-month subscriptions.
  • Annual (12 months) and Multi-Year (36 months) subscriptions provide price protection for longer term commitments. You will be able to add licences during the term, but you will only be able to decrease licence counts at the end of the term.

2. The cancellation policy. In the legacy CSP experience, an option to cancel a subscription wasn’t available. Instead, your CSP could suspend a subscription to stop the billing for it, and the subscription would expire if not renewed at the end of the term.

  • Under the NCE, a seat-based subscription of any term length can be cancelled – BUT only within the first 72 hours of the term, with a prorated refund (calculated daily). After the first 72 hours, no cancellation is possible, and billing will continue for the remainder of the term.
  • The cancellation period of 72 hours includes all days of the week, and doesn’t exclude weekends or holidays. So, if a subscription is purchased on a Friday, you will have until the following Monday to cancel it.

3. The seat reduction policy. Seat counts on NCE subscriptions can be reduced – BUT only within the first 72 hours of the term. After the first 72 hours, no seat reductions are possible. It’s therefore critical to ensure that your subscriptions and seat counts are accurate from the start of the agreement.

Q. Why should I have my subscriptions moved to the NCE?

A. Microsoft has made it clear that the NCE platform will soon be the platform on which all CSP products and services are provisioned.

During the months in which the NCE and the legacy CSP experience are available side by side, your CSP will initiate the process of moving your existing subscriptions to the NCE platform, and start placing new subscriptions via the NCE in preparation for the eventual decommissioning of the legacy CSP experience.

Q. When will my subscriptions on the current platform be required to be moved to the NCE?

A. From 10 March 2022, CSPs will no longer be able to order new subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform. From 1 July 2022, CSPs will no longer be able to renew existing subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform. You should engage directly with your CSP to determine the best schedule for your transition to the NCE. Your licensing strategy, your business needs, and your budget (among other factors) should be considered during this discussion.

Q. What other dates do I need to know about?

A. Microsoft is clear about the NCE timelines, and there are several dates to diarise:

1 March 2022. Although unrelated to the New Commerce Experience, Microsoft’s previously announced commercial price increases for Microsoft 365 come into effect at the beginning of March this year. If you have Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Office 365 E1, Office 365 E3, Office 365 E5, or Microsoft 365 E3 subscriptions in play, then you’ll need to consider the new pricing as part of your planning for the NCE.

10 March 2022. All new subscriptions must be purchased via the NCE platform from 10 March 2022 onward. Your CSP will no longer be able to order new subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform.

1 July 2022. Starting in July, all renewals must occur via the NCE platform. Your CSP will no longer be able to renew existing subscriptions on the legacy CSP platform.

From October 2022, all customers will have to make purchases via the NCE platform.

In June 2023, all legacy CSP subscriptions will be retired.

Now’s the time to review your subscriptions

If you rely on Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform in your day-to-day business environment, then it’s important to evaluate your current subscriptions in line with the New Commerce Experience timelines.

How many licences do you have? How many licences do you actually need? Are you paying a premium for features that aren’t being used? What is the best time for your business to transition from the legacy CSP experience to the NCE? What Microsoft NCE promotions can you take advantage of right now? Consider these questions with your CSP as you review the cloud solutions that enable workplace productivity for your teams.

Need help? We can optimise your Microsoft licensing.

As a Microsoft Azure Expert MSP and Gold Microsoft Partner with 16 competencies and 9 advanced specialisations, BUI is a recognised cloud and security leader.

Let’s talk about streamlining your Microsoft licences, refining your purchasing strategy, and maximising your cost savings for this year and the years ahead.

Are your endpoint security measures tough enough for the times?

More than 80% of enterprises had embarked on a hybrid workplace journey by the middle of 2021. Today, the combination of on-site, remote, and mobile productivity is considered part of the new normal – but it also presents significant challenges for corporate cybersecurity teams.

With employees working from so many different locations, using multiple devices and methods of connectivity, managing and monitoring endpoints is a demanding job. And the task is further complicated by the status quo: as personal and professional lives overlap, the lines between home equipment and business equipment are being blurred.

In a recent survey, 46% of employees admitted using their corporate laptop for “life admin” – including online shopping and social media – and 30% said they had allowed someone else to use their work device.

Alongside these emerging trends in device use and misuse, there is substantial evidence that the cyberthreat landscape has been changed irrevocably – by the COVID-19 pandemic and by rapid digital transformation. As the world grappled with the first wave of coronavirus cases in early 2020, there was a 238% spike in cyberattack volume.

Threat actors took advantage of the sudden shift to home-based and remote productivity – and no industry was spared. Miners, manufacturersfinancial institutions, healthcare providers, retail outlets, non-profit organisations, and even schools and universities were targeted. Unsecured endpoints – from smartphones to printers – were often exploited during these cyberattacks.

According to the International Data Corporation, 70% of all successful network breaches begin on endpoint devices. To safeguard your enterprise network, you need to monitor every endpoint. You need to apply controls and restrictions. You need to identify anomalies. And you need to respond to threats as they occur. How does your endpoint security strategy measure up?

Are you managing vulnerabilities?

For comprehensive security, you have to be able to identify, assess, and remediate endpoint vulnerabilities and threats in real time. Loopholes and misconfigurations are weaknesses that cybercriminals will try to exploit.

Are you reducing the attack surface?

To minimise your exposure to cybercrime, you have to reduce your attack surface. With stringent controls for devices, applications, and folders, plus comprehensive defences against network intrusions and malware, you can lessen the risk to your resources.

Have you enabled endpoint detection and response?

When you’re proactive about threat hunting within your IT environment, you can harness the power of machine learning, big data, and advanced analytics to detect suspicious behaviours and malicious activities on endpoints – and remediate cyberthreats when they occur.

Have you automated investigation and remediation?

High volumes of security alerts and notifications can overwhelm corporate cybersecurity teams and delay their response times. Leverage the security tools at your disposal and apply decision-making algorithms to investigate and resolve security issues automatically, and at scale.

Continuous threat intelligence from endpoints is critical to help your security teams provide robust protection across your enterprise environment. With full endpoint visibility, you will be better positioned to eliminate potential penetration points, monitor emerging threats, and improve your overall security posture.

Get advanced security with Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint uses a combination of technologies built into Windows 10 and Microsoft’s cloud service to generate continuous threat intelligence.

Talk to our experts to learn more about Defender for Endpoint’s advanced threat protection, centralised management, and detailed reporting features.