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SharePoint Saturday Ottawa - December 3rd

UPDATE | 2016-07-28

Mark your calendars for the 5th annual SharePoint Saturday Ottawa!  Microworks is pleased to be helping out again this year on the planning committee.

SharePoint Saturday is a day of presentations on a variety of topics related to SharePoint on premise and in the cloud.  You'll hear from SharePoint MVPs, technical and design specialists, and get unique business perspectives on implementing SharePoint.  At the end of the day, relax at SharePint - fun and drinks with SharePoint colleagues.

This is a free event, but you should register to help the organizers plan for the breakfast and lunch. Go to the SharePoint Saturday Events website to learn more and register.​


Securing your corporate information


Malicious attacks, including data theft and ransomware, are becoming more frequent and more severe.  We are reading about them every week in the news.  Symantec reports Canadians are experiencing attacks an average of 1,641 times a day.  The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) maintains an online database of current vulnerabilities.  The RCMP is tracking threats and scams that are reported on their website.  At Microworks, we most often deal with ransomware that locks data drives until a ransom is paid.   Recently we have seen ransomware that can also bypass anti-spam and anti-malware filters.

An ounce of prevention

Here are some tips that will help keep your computers running safely:

  • Email: Make sure you have up-to-date name brand anti-virus/malware/spam software on client and servers.  The better software provides dynamic updates and intelligent threat protection.  Force more complex passwords.  Educate your employees on email usage policies. 
  • Firewall:  Use a new generation Cisco or other major firewall with intrusion detection and inspection, not just port filtering.  
  • VPN:  Remote access to your network should use strong encryption AND authentication.  This means encrypt the conversation and make sure each end of the tunnel is who you expect it to be.  Use Transport Layer Security (TLS), or better yet use IPsec. 
  • Website, extranet, intranet: Make sure to use TLS for your public and private web pages, not SSL because it has serious flaws. 
  • Mobile devices:  A laptop brought home or to a coffee shop could be directly accessed by malicious software and there will be no intelligent firewall protection. That same laptop can bring intrusion software right into a corporate network that lacks internal monitoring, resulting in other computers being infected. 
  • Wireless Access Points:  Use at least WPA 2, and even better, also use Radius authentication.

Backups, backups, backups

Backups will not prevent data theft, but they are an excellent hedge against ransomware. As of this writing, none of our customers had to pay a ransom because of good backup practices.  Keep a lot of history to withstand an intrusion designed to appear weeks or months later. 



SharePoint Saturday Ottawa - November 21st

UPDATE | 2015-11-16

SharePoint Saturday is a day of presentations on a variety of topics related to SharePoint on premise and in the cloud.  You'll hear from SharePoint MVPs, technical and design specialists, and get unique business perspectives on implementing SharePoint.  It is at the Algonquin Woodroffe campus - Building T.  Registration at 7:30. Things get underway at 8:10. At the end of the day, relax at SharePint - quiz an expert panel, prizes, and drinks with SharePoint colleagues.

This is a free event, but you should register to help the organizers plan for the breakfast and lunch. Go to the SharePoint Saturday Events website to learn more and register.​

Microworks is pleased to be a sponsor for the 4th year in a row.


SharePoint 2016 is coming

UPDATE | 2015-08-26

SharePoint 2016 is due for release in Spring 2016.  This will be an on premise version, but will have significant hooks to Office 365 and SharePoint Online.  Some of the online features are expected to be added to the on premise version.  There is also a hybrid search coming that will search your content across content stored on premise and in the cloud.  Details of what's in the new version will be announced at Microsoft Ignite, which is being held in Chicago in May.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced plans to introduce cloud data centers in Canada.  Word is that the first two will be in Toronto and Quebec City. This is welcome news from a data sovereignty perspective, as data held within Canada will be subject to Canada's security and privacy laws.


7th EDRM Course in Ottawa

UPDATE | 2015-08-19

Jill Austin, director of Microworks' SharePoint IM Practice, is an instructor at the Federated Press 7th Annual EDRM Course in Ottawa, September 16-17. Jill is drawing on many years of experience implementing EDRM in SharePoint and other applications. Her presentation on the 'Findability Crisis' examines various factors that enable and challenge findability.  These include the nature of the information seeker, the nature of the content repository and the EDRM system itself. The course is geared to executives across industry sectors.

To find out more, visit the course website.   

New Career Opportunity at Microworks

JOB POSTING | 2015-08-17

Microworks has an immediate opportunity for a Network Administrator in Ottawa, ON. Click here to see the full job posting.


Windows 10 Released Today – Is your corporate network ready?

UPDATE | 2015-07-29

Windows 10 is being released today and thousands of users have started to make the switch.  Windows 10 promises a better web browser, a more intuitive user interface, and faster multi-tasking.  A review from Engadget calls Windows 10 "the best of Windows 7 and 8".   

At Microworks we are very excited about Windows 10 too, but we must also be careful.  Virtually no major operating system upgrade goes without problems and we all share the need to keep your important corporate applications working on your office systems and on the web.  We therefore recommend that you do systematic  testing on your corporate applications and then slowly release Windows 10 on a restricted basis.  And don't forget that you will likely need to do user training! 

If there is any way we can help  you, please let us know.

SharePoint Saturday 2015

UPDATE | 2015-06-29

SharePoint Saturday Ottawa is returning November 21st.  This is a free one-day event with presentations by experts on all things SharePoint - and beyond. You can meet other people working with SharePoint and can find out more about related products and service providers.  Please take a moment to provide feedback to help the organizing committee for the event:  You can register for this (free!) event here:

SharePoint 2016 news

UPDATE | 2015-04-20

Microsoft will be releasing SharePoint 2016 in the second quarter of 2016. Details will be released at the Microsoft Ignite conference this summer.

Look for some of the Office 365 features to be available on premise, such as Office Graph and Delve. Closer integration with Exchange is promised, so hopefully we'll see improved email management tools in SharePoint 2016. Improved compliance and reporting tools are coming, as well, and we should expect improvements in data protection. 

Microsoft has confirmed its commitment to continuing SharePoint on-premise releases, in addition to cloud and hybrid options.

Stay tuned! 

Importance of information lifecycle management for every organization

UPDATE | 2015-02-06

The January/February issue of ARMA's Information Management magazine contains an excellent article entitled "8 Steps to Effective Information Lifecycle Management" by Melissa Dederer and April Dmytrenko. It outlines what information lifecycle management (ILM) can do for an organization:

  • Improved Availability - right information to the right people at the right time
  • Reduced Risk - avoid basing important business decisions on out-of-date or incorrect information
  • Reduced Costs - lower storage costs, lower operating costs, and more efficient employees
  • Optimized Business Efficiencies - smaller information volumes means faster and more efficient retrieval, and higher productivity

ILM makes explicit:

  • What information the organization has
  • Where it is stored
  • Who has ownership and/or accountabilties for it - Hint: It isn't IT!
  • Why it is being retained
  • How quickly and easily it can be accessed
  • How it is tracked
  • How long it must be retained

 ILM is a good investment for every organization, and is essential for effectively managing all information systems. Be sure you have SharePoint and other information systems configured for ILM.

Contact our IM team at, if you want to introduce ILM in your organization.


Visit us at the CSAE Ottawa-Gatineau Tête-à-Tête

UPDATE | 2015-01-20

The Tête-à-Tête 25th Anniversary features Keynote Presenters David Usher, the Juno Award-Winning Musician, and Ron Tite, named one of the top 10 Creative Canadians. Microworks will be in booth 202, please stop by and say hello.

The event is held on January 29, 2015, at the Shaw Centre (55 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa), from 7am – 3pm. Tête-à-Tête is open to all Association and Not-For-Profit Executive Directors and Employees, Professional Meeting Planners and Government Procurers. Visit for more information.

We hope to see you there!


Microworks presenting at Ottawa SharePoint User Group

UPDATE | 2015-01-15

Please join us January 27th at the Ottawa SharePoint Users Group when we will be presenting "Boost SharePoint Impact and Success".  Kendall Lougheed, Jill Austin and Kristy Hesketh will be discussing tools and techniques to ensure your SharePoint is addressing priority business needs and achieving high user adoption.

For details, please contact


A Day at Ottawa’s SharePoint Saturday

It was great to give a presentation at SharePoint Saturday Ottawa this year. I presented on SharePoint Return on Investment (ROI). The talk highlighted findings from 20 years of doing IT strategy. The interesting thing is that information management issues consistently rank as priorities for organizations – and most of the issues can be addressed with SharePoint. There was a lively discussion among participants about the importance of the Information Architect in successful collaboration and EDRMS projects. Unfortunately, many projects still fail to bring that expertise on board.

This was my first SharePoint Saturday with Microworks and it was a bustling day of meeting new people, making connections and catching informative sessions in-between all the action. Coming from a Library and Information Studies background, of course I attended Noorez Khamis's 'Real World Tips and Tools to Build your SharePoint 2013 Record Management System'. His review of how SharePoint’s records management capability has evolved with each version was well done. 

The attendance at this event, as usual, was very high (especially for a cold, dark November Saturday!) and participants were enthusiastic about sharing knowledge. I was surprised, and pleased, to see a couple of sessions this year on integrating SharePoint and Dynamics CRM. This is something Microworks has been doing for several years now. Sometimes it involves pulling data from CRM into SharePoint, and sometimes more complex interactions between the systems. With government moving to the Dynamics CRM platform, we expect to see integration needs continuing to grow.

SharePoint Saturday Ottawa was a great day – full of familiar faces, networking opportunities, and different learning experiences. Microworks’ SharePoint specialists attended and Microworks was a Gold sponsor this year. Being a consultant, I really enjoyed hearing different perspectives and approaches in the sessions I attended. One in particular discussed a controversial collaboration feature - the Share button. Although Microsoft has made it easier than ever to share files, it is causing some grief. We are often asked about how to use this new feature, and it was great to hear our words reiterated. Each time you use the Share button, inherited permissions are broken. It becomes almost impossible to track who has access to your content, and for how long, and who they may decide to share it with. Access and security need to be a part of your SharePoint governance plan.  


Microworks Responds to Ebola Crisis

 UPDATE | 2014-11-12

Microworks has donated to the Canadian Red Cross and Doctors without Borders, who are on the frontline responding to the Ebola crisis.   West Africa needs basic equipment like gloves and masks, community training, and beds for Ebola victims.  Join us in providing support where it counts. 

Please give generously to the Canadian Red Cross or to Doctors Without Borders.


Microworks Supports the Ottawa Parkinson Research Consortium

 UPDATE | 2014-10-31

Help researchers find a cure for this progressive disorder of the nervous system, second only to Alzheimer’s Disease. Dave and Jill Hogg hosted this 3rd Annual Parkinson’s Benefit Concert at Greenfield’s Pub in honor of Shelby Hayter’s “Pass the Baton” Program. 

You may have missed the fundraiser but you can click here to DONATE.


Microworks sponsors SharePoint Saturday

 UPDATE | 2014-10-29

We are pleased to be a Gold sponsor for Ottawa's SharePoint Saturday. This is a great learning event, and we will have a table again this year. 

Microworks has been doing IT/IM strategy work with our clients for many years. This year at SharePoint Saturday, we will be presenting our findings from that work. This will be relevant to anyone concerned with identifying high impact SharePoint initiatives that address business needs of strategic importance to the organization. We will talk about engaging key stakeholders and maximizing user adoption of SharePoint.

Attendance is free for SharePoint Saturday.  The date is November 22nd and the location is Algonquin College on Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa. Register for the event here:  Please stop by our table and talk to us!

Email Phishing

 UPDATE | 2014-10-22

We've been seeing some pretty sophisticated email phishing lately.  Phishing is an attempt to gain sensitive information like usernames and passwords by masquerading as a trusted source - like your bank or a friend or family member.  It's getting harder to detect these as the messages are getting more sophisticated. You have to look closely at the domain to see what's 'off'.  We wondered how to report this happening and it looks like the RCMP is a good place to start.  See their webpage on reporting scams and frauds:

If you want to boost your corporate email scanning and security, give us a call - 613.232.3859.

Network Support and Network Security

 UPDATE | 2014-09-19

Microworks has been a supplier of IT network support services for over 30 years.  For us, network support consists of proactive administration, and user training and coaching.  With a network support agreement, Microworks provides 7/24/365 support for critical systems such as servers, Internet connection, security, and other major systems.  We are always monitoring our alerting system and we have technical staff on call 24 hours a day.

We help our customers develop and test their disaster recovery capabilities.  We will design a disaster recovery plan that includes data recovery point objective (RPO) and the recovery time objective (RTO). RPO defines how much data you are willing to lose - minutes, hours, or a whole business day?.  RTO defines how quickly your system must be back online following a failure or service interruption.  We recommend doing a security assessment to assess the impact of theft, corruption, or outright loss of your data.   Our clients are from the public and private sectors, and each has unique needs for security, reliability, and recoverability of data. 

IT network support includes identifying all the key systems - servers, network connectivity, firewalls, and Internet connection.  For most companies, email has joined the critical systems list.   For recoverability, you need to obtain fully redundant systems and/or onsite hardware and software replacement warranties or service agreements.  We supervise system replacements to recover data and accept the work done by the manufacturers and suppliers.

When it comes to IT network support, manufacturers' warranties are essential to our customers and ourselves!

Evaluating SharePoint Success

 UPDATE | 2014-09-12

Your SharePoint solution is implemented and has been in use for a year or two.  What now?  Time to evaluate it and assess how it is being used and if it is meeting business needs. Microworks does SharePoint assessments from technical, information architecture, user adoption, and compliance perspectives.

 > Read our case study on evaluating SharePoint success

Cloud Security for your Corporate Network

 UPDATE | 2014-09-10

Recent news about iCloud hacks are only one reminder of cloud and network security risks for which many people are unprepared. Apple is not the only provider that has limited security in place.  Too often unreported are corporate security vulnerabilities that can be devastating.    Here are some quick security tips for your corporate network:

  • Make sure your corporate network has a tier 1 firewall that looks actively at inside and outside risks. If your firewall cost you hundreds of dollars, then you don't have much security.
  • Make sure your computers are setup to block cookies because they are a strangely legal way to track your personal information online.
  • Implement a system with "strong security".  If your online provider uses email address plus password, your email is exposed.  Strongest is a 3-part authentication, such as your email PLUS complex password PLUS some other secret. 
  • Demand that your online cloud provider put in writing what internal security, anti-virus, and user account security systems are in place. 
  • Ask your online cloud provider if they offer system restore from days ago, weeks ago, or months ago.
  • Get a security assessment done.  Microworks - Ottawa's network security specialist - is our favourite!

ARMA NCR IM Days - Ottawa

 UPDATE | 2014-09-04

ARMA's NCR IM Days is an annual event for Ottawa's RIM professionals.  IM Days brings together people with an interest in records and information management for two days of interesting sessions.  As an Ottawa expert in electronic document and records management solutions using Microsoft SharePoint, we look forward to this event each Fall.

IM Days is November 18-19 at the Brookstreet Hotel.  To register, go to  As a long time ARMA member, we are happy to be an exhibitor this year. Please stop by our booth and say hello!

Microworks welcomes Patrick Starnino and Shabir Ahmed

 PRESS RELEASE | 2014-08-29

We are happy to welcome two new members to our Ottawa IT services and solutions team.

 > See the full press release

Microworks welcomes Kristy Hesketh

 PRESS RELEASE | 2014-07-31

We are very pleased to announce that Kristy Hesketh has joined our Ottawa SharePoint practice.

 > See the full press release

Microworks launches new website

PRESS RELEASE | 2014-04-28

We are excited to launch our new website with a fresh look that reflects our deep commitment to sustainable solutions.

> See the full press release