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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.

Helping enterprises become more agile with Azure

BUI is proud to be recognised as a Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Services Provider (MSP) for the second year in a row.

As the first South African company to achieve this status in 2020, and the only SA-based Microsoft Partner currently holding this prestigious accreditation, we are part of an elite group of cloud specialists trusted to provide world-class managed services to Azure customers.

Launched in 2018, the Microsoft Azure Expert MSP programme is a global initiative to highlight Microsoft Partners with proven expertise in end-to-end cloud management. Approximately 100 organisations have been granted the Azure Expert MSP badge to date. We achieved re-certification after a rigorous independent audit of our people, processes and technologies in July 2021.

“When BUI became an Azure Expert MSP for the first time last year, our teams were acknowledged not only for their superior technical abilities, but also for their commitment to service excellence,” recalls Chief Technology Officer Willem Malan. “Since then, we have focused on expanding our Azure credentials and our portfolio of Advanced Specializations to offer our customers the best possible advice and support throughout their cloud journeys. As we celebrate our Azure Expert MSP renewal, I’m so proud of the team whose focus and passion have helped us retain our place among Microsoft’s top cloud partners,” says Malan.

Committed to excellence

In the past 12 months, BUI has earned Microsoft Advanced Specializations in Adoption and Change ManagementIdentity and Access ManagementMicrosoft Windows Virtual DesktopTeamwork DeploymentThreat Protection, and Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure, and been selected to join the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA).

“We are actively strengthening our alignment with Microsoft, while distinguishing our company in terms of skills, experience, and customer successes,” explains Malan, citing the BUI Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) as a key enabler in this regard.

“Our Cloud Centre of Excellence is an important business unit – for us, and for the customers we serve,” agrees BUI CCoE Lead Dhiren Boodhia.

“With a dedicated group of cloud experts, including Azure architects, DevOps and cybersecurity specialists, we’re helping customers move to Azure in a secure, fast and consistent manner. With these tried-and-tested frameworks in place, we can deliver scalable, cost-effective solutions for our customers, and ensure they have the expert guidance they need every step of the way,” says Boodhia.

The Azure Expert MSP badge is awarded only to those Microsoft Partners with demonstrated abilities in high-fidelity managed services on Azure.

“The accreditation comes with a lot of prestige, but it’s not a one-and-done accomplishment,” notes Boodhia. “You aren’t given the badge forever: you have to earn it every year. The BUI a2zManaged services team is truly committed to end-to-end cloud lifecycle management, and the Azure Expert MSP badge is our assurance to customers… Yes, we can build, deploy, migrate, optimise and manage your business solutions in the cloud. Yes, you’re in expert hands. And we will help you to harness the full power of Azure,” he concludes.

Johannes Kanis, Cloud and Enterprise Business Group Lead at Microsoft South Africa, comments: “Our partner ecosystem is an integral enabler for customers at every stage of their digital transformation journey. Through its investment in building deep Azure skills, knowledge and competency, BUI is delivering innovative, impactful solutions that enable customers to become more agile and resilient. The Azure Expert MSP re-accreditation is a rigorous process and BUI has continued to demonstrate its commitment to helping customers achieve more with Microsoft cloud technology.”

We’re here for every step of your Azure journey.

From assessment and planning through to deployment, optimisation and management, our Azure experts can help you to achieve more value from your cloud investments.

Make your digital transformation a success with a trusted partner, and thrive in a cloud-first world. Book an Azure Discovery Workshop to explore the platform and its possibilities.

What’s your plan for System Center 2019 EOS?

System Center 2019 – the latest version of Microsoft’s data-centre management and monitoring application – gives you the tools to govern data centres running Windows Server 2019 and enables hybrid management and oversight with Azure.

Released in March two years ago, the System Center 2019 product suite falls under Microsoft’s Fixed Lifecycle Policy. End of Support (EOS) dates for System Center 2019 Data Protection ManagerSystem Center 2019 Operations ManagerSystem Center 2019 OrchestratorSystem Center 2019 Service Manager, and System Center 2019 Virtual Machine Manager are confirmed: Mainstream Support ends on 9 April 2024 and Extended Support ends five years later, on 9 April 2029.

Microsoft has outlined its road map for System Center 2019 and Update Rollups – with features, enhancements, and fixes – are currently being issued a few times a year.

Microsoft has also outlined its cloud-first strategy, and is increasingly investing in Azure to provide system management capabilities for Windows Server and Linux virtual machines and hosts. Inside Microsoft itself, System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) has been dropped in favour of an Azure service: the company uses Azure Monitor to address operations support for its own applications.

With the System Center 2019 EOS dates on the horizon in 2024 and 2029, you may not feel hard-pressed to re-evaluate your on-premises data centre immediately. But as you build out your business systems – to empower your teams for the new world of work and to drive your digital transformation initiatives – it’s important to invest in future-ready technology.

Here are some of the most compelling Azure resources to weigh as alternatives for your System Center 2019 toolkit.

Backup and disaster recovery with Azure

Two Azure services offer similar capabilities to System Center’s Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) and Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).

Azure Backup can back up your physical machines on-premises, virtual machines in Azure, or virtual machines running on hypervisors on-premises. Storage options include locally redundant, geo-redundant and zone-redundant storage for long-term data recoverability.

Azure Site Recovery enables multiple disaster recovery options for your entire site by replicating groups of virtual machines in these scenarios:

  • Enterprise to Enterprise (between your primary and secondary sites)
  • Enterprise to Azure (from on-premises to Azure virtual machines)
  • Azure to Azure (from Azure VMs in one region to Azure VMs in another region)

With Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery, you can prepare for unplanned outages and be ready to respond and recover as quickly as possible.

Management and monitoring with Azure

The management and monitoring capabilities provided by Azure Automation, Azure Monitor, and Azure Arc-enabled servers are comparable to System Center’s Operations Manager (SCOM), Orchestrator (SCO), and Service Manager (SCSM) software.

Azure Automation allows you to automate, configure, and install updates across hybrid environments. By automating frequent and time-consuming management tasks, you can reduce operational errors and boost efficiency.

Azure Monitor collects and analyses telemetry data from on-premises and Azure environments to help you monitor your infrastructure, applications, and networks. With end-to-end visibility and deeper insights, you can quickly identify and resolve problems.

With Azure Arc-enabled servers, you can extend the Azure resource manager framework to allow for the creation of Azure resources for operating system environments (OSEs) hosted outside of Azure. In this way, on-premises servers can be managed via the Azure portal and other Azure tools.

With Azure AutomationAzure Monitor, and Azure Arc-enabled servers, you can leverage Azure’s scale and power for more comprehensive control and oversight.

Security with Azure

Azure Security Center offers security management, monitoring, and alerting capabilities to Windows and Linux virtual machines, including:

  • Management of Microsoft and third-party endpoint protection software on OSEs
  • Monitoring and notification of potentially malicious activity on OSEs
  • Threat intelligence and OSE misconfiguration warnings based on data gathered by Microsoft
  • Anomaly detection to highlight potential cyberattacks

Azure Defender can be integrated into Azure Security Center to offer additional capabilities. Azure Defender for Servers (applicable to physical servers and VMs) includes:

  • Management of just-in-time VM access to limit inbound traffic to Azure VMs except when requested and required
  • Analysis of network and application usage to help limit unwanted network traffic and application activity
  • System call alerts for Linux servers

With Azure Security Center and Azure Defender, you can manage and secure your Windows and Linux VMs, and improve your overall security posture.

Migrate to modernise

Microsoft will end Mainstream Support for System Center 2019 in less than three years. And in 2029, Extended Support for the suite will cease, too. We expect forthcoming updates and any additional features to focus on improving on-premises capabilities and further integrating System Center with Azure’s range of services.

If you plan to keep using System Center 2019, then be sure to bookmark these online resources to stay up to date with developments and announcements:

And if you want to explore your options for cloud-powered transformation, or data-centre migration to Azure, then book a workshop with us:

We can help you design a migration strategy, create a road map for implementation, and guide you and your teams through a seamless and secure Azure migration process. Get in touch to learn more.

Get maximum value from your Azure investment.

As a Gold Microsoft Partner and Microsoft Azure Expert MSP, we’re able to deliver innovative cloud solutions that work for you.

Take a look at our customer success stories to see how we’ve transformed enterprises in South Africa and around the world.

BUI attains Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure Advanced Specialization

We are excited to announce that we have earned the Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure Advanced Specialization in recognition of our deep knowledge, extensive experience, and expertise in migrating Windows Server and SQL Server-based workloads to Azure.

Only Microsoft Partners that meet stringent criteria around customer success and staff skilling, as well as pass a third-party audit of their migration practices, are able to earn the Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure Advanced Specialization.

As companies look to modernise their applications and take full advantage of the benefits that cloud computing can deliver, and with the recent end-of-support for Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 R2, they are looking for a partner with advanced skills to assess, plan, and migrate their existing workloads to the cloud.

“This is the fifth advanced specialization we have attained since September last year, and it complements our existing capabilities in Adoption and Change ManagementIdentity and Access ManagementThreat Protection, and Windows Virtual Desktop,” says BUI Managing Director Ryan Roseveare.

“As more and more businesses turn to the cloud for productivity, security and scalability, we’re seeing an increased demand for expert technical advice and collaborative engagements. We are committed to giving customers the best service and the most innovative solutions to help them not only migrate with confidence, but also achieve their business objectives as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Roseveare explains.

Lionel Moyal, Commercial Partner Director at Microsoft South Africa, adds: “The Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure Advanced Specialization highlights the partners who can be viewed as most capable when it comes to migrating Windows-based workloads over to Azure. BUI clearly demonstrated that they have both the skills and the experience to offer clients a path to successful migration so that they can start enjoying the benefits of being in the cloud. I applaud BUI for this achievement. It further underscores their continuing efforts to deliver the highest levels of customer service and support in a rapidly changing world of work.”

BUI offers a two-week-long Data Centre Migration to Azure workshop for customers looking to transform their business operations with cloud technology. The workshop includes a cloud readiness assessment, a detailed road map for cloud implementation, Azure architecture fundamentals, a migration plan, and a migration execution proposal. Learn more on Azure Marketplace, or contact our team today.

Need a trusted partner to help you migrate to the cloud?

BUI is a Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Services Provider and a member of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association.

Let’s talk about cloud-powered productivity and security solutions customised for your business requirements.

BUI earns prestigious Microsoft Azure Expert MSP status

It’s official! BUI has been named a Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Services Provider (MSP). We’re extremely proud to be the first South African company to achieve this distinction, which is currently held by only a select group of Microsoft Partners worldwide.

What is an Azure Expert MSP?

The Microsoft Azure Expert MSP programme recognises Microsoft Partners with the proven expertise and capability to deliver the highest quality of managed end-to-end Microsoft Azure cloud services, from initial planning and design through to implementation, operation, and optimisation.

“This is a fantastic achievement for BUI and a win for our customers,” says Managing Director Ryan Roseveare. “This is an acknowledgement of our skills and competencies around Microsoft Azure and benefits our company and our customers. It shows that we are in the top tier of globally recognised Microsoft Partners, and that we are highly successful when it comes to managing modern cloud environments. As more and more South African businesses explore cloud-based solutions, the need for Azure specialists grows. We’re proud to rank among the best, and to support local companies.”

Roseveare’s sentiments are shared by Technical Director Willem Malan: “Now, more than ever, I think customers are looking for the best partners to support them through digital transformation. We have attained Microsoft Azure Expert MSP status and that is certainly a validation of our abilities, but more importantly, it’s an assurance for our customers. It shows that we’re equipped to provide truly world-class service, and to deliver Azure cloud services at scale for enterprises across the board.”

To participate in the Azure Expert MSP programme, Microsoft Partners must meet stringent requirements defined by Microsoft and independently evaluated by third-party auditors.

“The process is rigorous,” explains Malan. “Our teams have been assessed on everything from technical aptitude to customer deliveries, and we’re delighted with the positive feedback received. We’re fortunate to have so many talented, passionate people who are committed to delivering business value for our customers,” he says.

“We congratulate BUI on their Azure Expert MSP recognition and look forward to working alongside them, to help more customers make the move to the cloud as a critical enabler of digital transformation. It is a digital transformation journey that for many has accelerated exponentially, as the need for remote working has increased. Our partners are a cornerstone of the Microsoft ecosystem, now more than ever, as we navigate towards a post COVID-19 business landscape that creates hybrid workplaces that are secure, cost efficient and streamlined,” says Lillian Barnard, Managing Director of Microsoft South Africa.

“We’re honoured to have earned this prestigious accreditation, and we look forward to helping more customers benefit from the security and scalability of Microsoft Azure,” concludes Roseveare.

Email Security Update: DMARC For Our Customers

We’re going to implement the DMARC email security standard for our existing customers, free of charge, as part of our ongoing efforts to help create a safer internet.

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) is an email authentication system designed to protect an email domain from cyberattackers who may try to compromise the owner, brand, or business through domain spoofing, phishing, or cyber fraud.

Created by PayPal together with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and other industry leaders, the DMARC protocol leverages two existing email authentication techniques – SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) – while adding a reporting function that provides visibility into the domain owner’s email ecosystem.

As a domain owner, you want to have peace of mind about the emails that are being sent under your banner. Not only for your reputation, but for the reputation of your business, too. You want to know that your staff, customers, partners, and suppliers are receiving legitimate emails from real representatives of your organisation, not scammers impersonating you or your people. DMARC assures all those who receive your emails that the messages are authentic and trustworthy – and that they originated from your true domain.

There were an estimated 3.9 billion active email users last year – and that number is expected to reach 4.2 billion by 2022. Email is a big part of our personal and professional lives – but it’s also an information-rich environment that attracts malicious actors. For cybercriminals, the ability to mimic a business through email is extremely valuable, and could open the door for data theft, identity theft, and account fraud.

DMARC adoption is increasing worldwide

More than a million organisations – including Amazon, Apple, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – are already using DMARC to help secure their email. DMARC is considered best practice by industry leaders around the globe. We’ve decided to deploy DMARC for our customers because we want to make sure that they have comprehensive email protection, in compliance with the latest standards.

We’ve enlisted local technology startup Sendmarc to help us do this as seamlessly as possible. The South African company, co-founded by entrepreneurs Keith Thompson, Sam Hutchinson, and Sacha Matulovich, specialises in DMARC implementation and monitoring.

The Sendmarc software gathers, interprets, and analyses DMARC data reports to provide actionable insights for domain owners. It takes a complex collection of technical data and makes it clear, visual, and easy to understand so that domain owners can see exactly what’s happening in their email environments – and then take steps to address any issues detected.

Phishing plays a role in over 90 percent of all cyberattacks – and that’s why it’s critical for domain owners to be proactive about email security. Brands and businesses can’t afford to ignore the fact that cyberattackers are constantly searching for new ways to steal money, personal information, credit card data, and login credentials. Email will remain a target, but the DMARC protocol can help strengthen cyber resilience at the domain level.

Here’s the process for DMARC deployment by BUI

Customers will receive correspondence from BUI, outlining the steps for DMARC deployment and providing additional resources to help them understand the benefits of this email security measure.

The DMARC protocol will then be added to the customer’s DNS, and approximately 4-6 weeks later, the customer will receive a report outlining any issues detected.

Securing Your Remote Workforce During Lockdown, And Beyond

Managing cybersecurity for an increased remote workforce requires careful consideration of the people and protocols throughout your business.

South Africa’s nationwide COVID-19 lockdown has made remote work a business necessity. And while you may have supported a handful of work-from-home employees before the pandemic, a rapid transition to a fully remote workforce is likely to test your capabilities. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when you pivot from a traditional, physical hub to a virtual workspace, but there is one critical concern that should guide your actions: cybersecurity.

Effective cybersecurity requires both visibility and control. When your day-to-day business operations are centralised, it’s simpler for IT personnel to safeguard data and resources. They’re able to monitor networks, supervise hardware and software usage, and help govern employee behaviour to insulate your company from cyberthreats. They’re gatekeepers and guardians with defined perimeters, 360-degree views, and the power to manage endpoints and end users alike.

But what happens when your employees have to work remotely from their homes? What happens when they use household wi-fi, personal devices, and public applications to keep in touch with colleagues and complete job-related tasks? And what happens to your corporate security posture when it’s suddenly linked to domestic ecosystems that you cannot see and do not own?

The digital landscape has been changed by COVID-19. The threat landscape has been changed as well. One of the biggest challenges for cybersecurity teams right now is the protection of remote workers (and workloads) in a fluid environment where the risks have been greatly amplified by the current social and economic circumstances. While businesses are grappling with the coronavirus fallout on all fronts, cyberattackers are looking for novel ways to exploit systemic vulnerabilities and individual fears. Security measures that factor in technological and human considerations are more important than ever before. You need to look at your protocols and your people as you adjust your defensive strategy for the continuing lockdown, and the future beyond it. Our remote-work checklist will help you to close the gaps and strengthen cyber hygiene…

#1 | Have you instituted a remote work policy?

Few organisations were equipped to transform their employees into remote workers at the pace required for sustained productivity after South Africa’s lockdown announcement in March. Travel limitations and retail restrictions also made it difficult to purchase new corporate hardware for personnel to use at home. As a result, there are several remote-work scenarios in play: staff using company-owned devices; staff using their own devices; staff using borrowed devices from friends and relatives; or a combination of these.

A comprehensive policy that outlines the terms and conditions of remote access to corporate resources, as well as the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, can reduce the risk of costly disputes in the event of a security incident. Your business may also have additional legal obligations regarding the handling of personally identifiable information and intellectual property in such circumstances, and you may need to consult an expert for guidance on the applicable local and international laws.

#2 | Have you educated remote workers about device security?

Make sure that your employees understand the importance of system updates, program updates, and software patches as part of a healthy cybersecurity routine – and be prepared to offer additional support to those who do not usually perform these tasks on their own.

You can also put device maintenance and protection under your corporate umbrella with a cloud-based endpoint management platform like Microsoft Intune, which gives you the ability to manage and secure company-owned and employee-owned Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS devices.

#3 | Have you mandated antivirus software for remote machines?

Check that all devices used by remote workers have adequate firewalls and up-to-date antivirus software installed. This is particularly important for the smartphones, tablets, and laptops that employees use personally and professionally.

Windows 10 has Windows Defender Antivirus built in, and if your IT teams are monitoring endpoints with Intune or a similar solution, then you may have additional functionality to improve the cyber safety nets around remote devices.

#4 | Have you enabled secure remote connections?

Your employees’ home office environments may be shared by their spouses, partners, children, roommates, or even tenants. And their home networks may support web-enabled appliances like smart TVs, or IoT automation systems like lighting control, or wearable technology like fitness trackers, in addition to their own portable devices. Every connected item is a potential gateway for cyberattackers.

You can buffer corporate resources against this wider threat landscape by enforcing the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and remote desktop applications. Make sure that remote workers do all they can to safeguard their home wi-fi routers as well, in terms of physical security (making it tamper-proof) and cybersecurity (changing its default password out of the box).

#5 | Have you made MFA compulsory for remote workers?

Implementing multi-factor authentication will help you to maintain control over core system access and protect sensitive business data. The extra steps that remote users have to take to verify their identities are essential security checkpoints for your organisation – and additional obstacles for malicious actors.

Phishing attacks are increasing as cybervillains move to exploit the public demand for coronavirus-related news and information. And you may already know that around 80% of data breaches are linked to compromised, weak, or reused passwords. Enabling MFA can help you to secure every employee login, no matter where the employee is located.

#6 | Have you given remote workers a dedicated IT support team?

You have to account for the fact that technical aptitude differs from person to person, and that remote work in itself may be daunting for employees who are more comfortable in a communal office where the IT department is a few metres away. Make sure remote staff know who to contact for everyday troubleshooting and emergency intervention, so that they don’t have to look for workarounds and quick fixes that could compromise their cybersecurity, and by extension, your company’s as well.

SEE HOW WE DO IT | Step inside the BUI Cyber Security Operations Centre

The COVID-19 pandemic may have pushed you to explore remote productivity earlier than you’d planned – but if you make cybersecurity the guiding principle for your remote workers today, then they’ll be better prepared to face the digital environment of the future.

Secure remote work has been our way of life for many years here at BUI.

We’ve embraced the idea of the modern workplace, and we’ve helped many of our customers to do the same. Neil du Plessis, our cloud solutions security architect, will discuss rapid deployment for remote work in our webinar on 27 May 2020.

He’ll be covering key areas including secure connectivity, secure collaboration, and business productivity options for small and medium-sized enterprises, with a special focus on Microsoft Teams.

Bold Plans, Big Ideas, And The Birth Of BUI

A company milestone in 2020

Managing Director Ryan Roseveare reflects on five key success factors as BUI celebrates 20 years of innovation.

Ryan Roseveare remembers walking through a Sandton shopping mall with a cellphone in his hand and hearing hushed chatter from the people behind him. “Look, that guy’s got one of those new cellphone thingies,” someone had whispered in amazement. It was the dawn of the new millennium. The world was still getting used to novelty items like mobile phones. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn were on the distant horizon. And digital technology was evolving at an unprecedented speed.

In the year 2000, Roseveare and his good friend, Willem Malan, were working at an IT firm that was struggling to adapt after a takeover. “We saw a very dynamic business deteriorate into a complete mess. It became very clear very quickly that the focus was on the stakeholders instead of the people.”

As the corporate carnage continued, Roseveare and Malan weighed their options. “We knew we didn’t want to do mundane IT. And we knew we wanted to put people first. We soon realised that starting our own business was the best thing to do,” he says. And so, BUI was born.

They started small and focused on their strengths, gradually building up a customer base in Johannesburg before taking on projects from around the country. It was a year before they could afford to move the business out of Roseveare’s house and into a corporate space. But the lessons learned in those first 12 months proved invaluable, and Roseveare believes their success comes down to five key factors…

Creating new opportunities

Johannesburg had been BUI’s main hub since inception, but satellite staff had been supporting customers elsewhere, too. With increasing demand in the Mother City, and a desire to broaden the company’s range of solutions, Roseveare approached Living Tech, a leader in managed services. “We were looking to establish a hub in Cape Town, and we were also looking to expand our capabilities,” he explains.

The acquisition of Living Tech ticked both boxes: BUI gained a metropolitan office in the Cape and a new business arm to leverage in service of a growing customer base. Roseveare was determined to make the integration as smooth as possible for Living Tech employees. “For two years, we didn’t change anything. We didn’t even change the coffee!” It was a thoughtful approach that created an opportunity for new faces to become familiar ones, and for teams to learn each other’s rhythms and routines. And it worked. “We have a very close-knit community,” he says.

Collaborating with peers

BUI’s expansion and continued success didn’t go unnoticed. “We had multiple corporates courting us, trying to purchase us, and we turned down a lot of offers,” confesses Roseveare, adding that he and Malan had similar concerns about BUI losing its unique identity. It was a proposal from First Technology Group CEO Arnold Sharp that finally made them reconsider.

“When Arnold came to us, he understood who we were, what we were doing, and how we worked – and he didn’t want to change us. He wanted us to retain our independence, but benefit from belonging to a bigger family,” remembers Roseveare. BUI joined the First Technology Group in 2015. “It was a positive move. It’s given us more strength, more credibility, more reach, and an ally who appreciates our philosophy.”

Being part of the First Technology Group also enabled greater collaboration within the local IT industry. BUI has had a strategic relationship with Ascent Technology since 2017. It’s an accord that Roseveare attributes as much to their shared mission as to their shared status as First Technology relatives. “I think we’re kindred spirits, as far as businesses go. And our agenda is the same: to transform our customers’ IT, modernise them, and make them secure. It makes sense for us to work together to deliver more value to the people we serve.”

Choosing the right partners

Delivering value to customers is one of BUI’s fundamental principles, and technology vendors and partners have always been chosen with this core tenet in mind. “If you’re going to pin your flag to someone else’s mast, then you better choose wisely,” advises Roseveare. “We’ve been selective. We’ve chosen good partners, and good platforms, and we’ve got it right the first time.”

Going all-in with Microsoft was a key decision, and a natural one. “It was a Microsoft world when we started BUI. That worked in our favour, because we knew the market and we had the expertise. But we also saw how technology was changing society. We knew we’d have the chance to innovate alongside one of the most innovative companies in the world,” says Roseveare.

BUI also has longstanding relationships with Cisco and Palo Alto Networks. “For us, end-to-end consulting means having advanced capabilities,” explains Roseveare. “It means knowing which complementary products and services would best suit a customer’s needs. And it means mastering the skills required to develop seamless, integrated solutions.”

Concentrating on people

Aptitude is important, says Roseveare, but attitude is paramount. “We’ve got an eclectic bunch of individuals here, and our offices are open, interactive places. We talk, we share, and we encourage friendly rivalry. But there’s a golden thread in our business: everyone has the same drive, and the same passion to be the best.”

The company culture is something that Roseveare set out to establish from Day 1. Working from the spare room of his Parkhurst home, he had the dual responsibilities of new parent and new business owner. Malan, likewise, was balancing his home life with the demands of entrepreneurship and a commute of more than 100km every day. “He used to spend half his salary on petrol and the other half on food,” chuckles Roseveare. “It took a lot of energy, but we did it. We planned, we prepared, and we executed.”

Their personal experiences informed their team-building techniques over the years. “We’ve built a people-focused business with a specific culture around agility, flexibility, excellence, and positive outcomes – for BUI and for our customers,” explains Roseveare. The results speak for themselves: dozens of elite technical specialists; a trophy cabinet full of industry accolades; and an enviable list of clients in diverse sectors. “We’re just warming up,” he quips.

Calculating for the future

BUI will continue to focus on managed cloud services, cyber security and networking, especially in the local market, where skills shortages remain a challenge for even the largest enterprises. Roseveare is also committed to expanding the company’s footprint internationally.

“We’re putting a lot of focus into growing our customer base in sub-Saharan Africa,” he says, adding that cloud-centric solutions make sense in developing countries where infrastructure and capacity constraints may be obstacles to productivity.

He has similar plans for the BUI base in the United States, but he’s being purposefully methodical about scaling up in a foreign environment. “We’re ambitious about our growth. We do want to become a truly global business. But first, we need to make sure that what we’re doing here can be replicated successfully overseas.”

After 20 years at the helm, Roseveare has every confidence in BUI – and his team. “The people in this company… They’re the ones waking up at dawn to solve problems for customers. They’re putting everything they have, and more, into making BUI a success. Without them, nothing would happen. It’s that simple.”

BUI is an official Microsoft Partner in South Africa, and an award-winning leader in identity and security solutions.