The highlights and the lessons we learned at SMBSCS this year
2021 – what a year for the team, the customers and the partners of SMB Solutions Cloud Services.
We have been talking about COVID-19 for 2 years now so let’s move straight past the obvious and onto the highlights for 2021!
The Highlights of 2021
Beddown Charity Pledge – As the weather began to cool down in Australia, Taylor and Richard found Beddown; a charity that was just starting up in Brisbane utilising empty unused spaces at night, such as carparks, and turning them into a safe place to sleep. Not only could guests find a safe, warm bed to sleep in but also a shower, food, laundry, and a range of career and mental health services available with volunteers to take advantage of. We pledged to donate an initial amount of $360 in May and an additional $150 for every new customer from June to December.
We are happy to announce that with our success over the last 6 months of the year, we were able to donate a grand total of $2460! We know this will be going to a great cause that is continuing to develop and look into more permanent solutions for the homeless guests of Brisbane. Check out their Facebook page here for more updates or their website here to make a donation.
Duo 2FA Rollout Begins – In mid-June, we announced via email some additional security updates we would be implementing to help protect us and our customers. One of these security measures is implementing Duo 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) for all customers. Two-Factor Authentication is an easy security policy to implement and use while also being extremely effective in thwarting potential cyber-attacks. You can read more information on 2FA and Duo in our blog post here.
SAP Business One Upgrade Completed – At the end of 2020, we announced our 2021 upgrade schedule here. The most recent update was for SAP Business One FP2105, completed in August for Australia and New Zealand based customers and subsequently in September for our customers in Singapore and South-East Asia. The upgrade itself went smoothly and all customer environments have been responding well to the new Patch. Keep an eye out for the 2022 upgrade schedule coming soon!
Major Server and Storage Upgrade Announced and Installed – More recently in November, we announced the purchase of $250k worth of new DELL servers and storage equipment to be installed in our data centres throughout December. We are happy to announce that this installation went smoothly in our Sydney based data centre and we anticipate beginning installation at our Singapore data centre in mid-February (post-Chinese New Year) unless COVID travel restrictions are reinforced in Australia.
Throughout the year
Valuable Training and Resources – As always, we try to provide our customers and partners with the tools they need to best utilise their SAP Business One, cloud environment and IT services. This year, we put a big focus and emphasis back on staff training – employees are the cogs that keep the business machine turning and training is essential to keeping your business secure and running smoothly. A few that are worth bookmarking and checking out include SAP Business One Training: Where to Find Free and Paid Resources, The SMB Solutions Cloud Services Training and Resources Guide and Ransomware & Malware – Does your security strategy include staff training?
A Few Lessons Learned in 2021
Stronger Cybersecurity = Safer Operating
This year was a big year for cyberattacks, particularly on large scale, global companies. Seeing these attacks is always a timely reminder that anyone is susceptible to cyberattack – even the big guys. We learnt from these attacks and the victim’s mistakes that could have potentially prevented them and made some changes of our own. We no longer enforced the 90-day password reset rule as it is now considered unsafe practice due to predictable and repetitive passwords being used too frequently. As mentioned above, we began implementing Duo 2FA throughout all customer accounts and we are constantly looking out for risks that require mitigation, such as the recent log4j vulnerability, and investing in software and technology that improves security for us and in turn our customers.
Changing Software for the Better
Previously, a software program called FS Logix was believed to be required for a server setup such as ours. What this software would do is balance the server load by categorising who should be logged onto which server machine based on the current users on that machine. This worked well initially, but unfortunately, a Microsoft update released a significant bug into the solution which caused a significant number of issues for customers and therefore, our team.
We realised this early in the year and logged multiple tickets with Microsoft however the issue could not be resolved (and still isn’t) so we switched off the software, made a change to how we handled user profiles, and system performance and stability returned to normal as our support calls dropped by 95%.
It’s fair to say that even the “experts” like us encounter software issues that are beyond our ability to fix because it is not our software.
Looking Forward to 2022
For more of our SAP Business One customers, the focus is on using the software to do their jobs with a minimum of fuss and bother and not necessarily about implementing new best practices or easier and better ways to use the software. With the upcoming upgrade to SAP Business One Version 10 FP2111 that is due to happen in February as part of our bi-annual upgrade policy, customers will have access to the very latest version of the new SAP Business One Web Client. We will be encouraging customers to look at this new feature, available to all licensed users and we will share more information about the Web Client to help you determine if it should be a part of your SAP environment going forwards. What we can tell you right now is that it is focused on customers who use the plain vanilla SAP Business One features without customisations and add-ons so if this is you, feel free to reach out and talk to your SAP Partner about utilising the Web Client.
You can find our SAP Business One Web Client YouTube Playlist here or part one of our SAP Business One Web Client Blog Series here for more information and training.
Of course, we will continue to monitor the technology landscape for ways to enhance our customer’s experience and we will communicate on this topic on a regular basis. Keep an eye out for our monthly e-Newsletters for the latest blog posts and updates through out 2022!