Merry Christmas!, Barracude Security Tips for 2021, Trivia Challenge, Articles, News, and more!

December 2020 -  Newsletter

Hello {"ANONYMIZED":"2023-04-26"}, 


It certainly has not been the year we expected. Our January article, Five Technology Resolutions to Start 2020, while a great list, would quickly read as "out of touch" with the times as we moved into March. Our plans to celebrate our thirtieth anniversary took a back seat to the reality of COVID-19. Our planned in-person events, like 'VNETCon 2020' and 'Brews & Bytes', were canceled indefinitely. At the start of the year, there was no VNET technician who thought they'd be setting up as many VPNs in such a short period as they did, but that was just another quirk of 2020.

Fortunately, our years of investment in Microsoft 365 proved to be invaluable for businesses and teams who suddenly found themselves working from home and needing a way to communicate, share files, and video conference easily and securely. Instead of in-person events, we held webinars with some of our partners, such as Microsoft Teams, Konftel, and SonicWall. Through it all, we've been able to meet our clients' needs, just as you have learned to do the same in your industry. Ironically, we feel more hopeful and prepared for the future, having endured the previous ten months than we would have without this year's challenges. We hope you feel the same optimistic outlook!



Congratulations to VNET Newsletter subscriber Jackie B. who was selected at random after responding correctly to our trivia question from our November newsletter. She will receive a $25.00 gift card to Ember+Forge. Thanks to everyone who emailed an answer, and be sure to read through this month's newsletter for our latest contest! (The correct answer for when Windows 7 released was October 22, 2009.)

From all of us at VNET, we want to wish you a merry Christmas and happy holidays!


–The VNET Team

Lessons learned: five cybersecurity takeaways for a safer 2021

It’s been a momentous year for everyone working in cybersecurity. But while the pandemic has caused pain, misery and disruption on a quite unimaginable scale, there are also some positives we can take with us into 2021. The rapid shift to remote working and adjustments that many companies were forced to make to continue serving customers highlighted the importance of digital transformation. But they have also hopefully reminded business leaders of the critical need for effective cybersecurity baked-in from the start. The stakes couldn’t be higher: cyber risk in today’s environment represents nothing short of an existential challenge for organisations.

So what specifically have we learned over the past 12 months that can make 2021 a safer, more secure and successful year for all of us?


Contact the VNET team to learn about the latest cybersecurity solutions from Barracuda.


Microsoft Teams


Dynamic Team Structures Are Becoming the Norm



We used to have customers who called every day for help with their file sharing and storage issues. Then they moved to Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 includes Microsoft Teams, a hub for teamwork that helps speed innovation by keeping the technology effort simple.

With Teams, you can set up intranets, create channels for projects, programs, and customers, and share files and folders with enterprise-grade security. Teams can change the way you work.








VNET Radio Podcast - Remote Working



Each month, VNET tackles a new technology topic for our monthly podcast, VNET Radio.


This month Matt Wiertel and Allan Carpenter discuss tips for hosting events and celebrations in a virtual environment. 


Not into podcasts? You can also listen to us LIVE on iHeart Radio AM1400, or listen via the iHeart Radio App. Click below for the Live Broadcast schedule, embedded podcast, blog, and instructions on how to subscribe via your favorite podcast platform.


Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

Virtual Party

Ain't No Party Like a Virtual Party


At VNET, Microsoft Teams is the clear choice for video conferencing with its tight integration with the Microsoft 365 family of products. Not only is it great for internal communications and remote work, but it’s also excellent for hosting VIRTUAL HOLIDAY PARTIES! Say What?!


It’s true, most of the leading video conferencing solutions are perfect for hosting a party or celebration with just a little planning, practice, and imagination.


Don't miss the included links that will show you how to customize your MS Teams background, find new custom backgrounds to use, or submit your creations for others to enjoy!


VNET on Spotify
Playlist of the Month

Jessica's Get Psyched Mix



This month's playlist comes from Jessica Nelson. Inspired by Barney Stinson's LEGENDARY playlist from "How I Met Your Mother," this tracklist may be credited to this fictional character, but Jessica's stamp of approval perfects it. You don't have to be a fan of the "hair bands" of the '80s to find something to like here. These tracks are solid gold anthems of rock that will empower you to achieve whatever you set your mind to. It's like a playlist of rocket fuel that might change the trajectory of your life! You should give it a shot.


Do you have a Spotify playlist you'd like to share? Email us and we'll share it in one of our future newsletters!






Game of the Month




If you're a fan of the Star Wars universe, you owe it to yourself to pick up this space combat game from publisher EA.

Join the New Republic as a fighter pilot and take on the Galactic Empire in the cockpit of an X-Wing, Y-Wing, or A-Wing. Are you feeling more "Dark Side" tendencies? Fight the establishment in any of the TIE Fighter series ships.

The controls are easy to learn but challenging to master. Fight through two separate campaigns, one for the Republic and one as a member of the Galactic Empire. Then take your honed skills online with your buddies for 5v5 dogfights.

Available on: Xbox One, PS4, & PC.





The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
Movie of the Month
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020)
What do you think of when you hear the name, The Bee Gees? Depending on when you were born, you might think, "who's that?" or "oh, from that film Saturday Night Fever," or maybe you were there for their whole career and had an established opinion. Either way, this documentary by Frank Marshall is eye-opening as it explores the Gibb brothers' lives and careers.

'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart' is an up-close look at the brothers from the perspective of Barry Gibb, the only living member of the trio. Discover fantastic music from the band, and learn about the music that influenced them on their journey to becoming one of the most influential pop and contemporary music groups of all time.

The movie is rated TV-MA.
Available on: HBO Max



Q. What is Audio Conferencing in Microsoft 365?


A. Audio Conferencing in Microsoft 365 enables users to call in to meetings from their phones. Add a phone number to your Teams meetings with a simple click in Outlook and your attendees can join Microsoft Teams meetings on the go, without an internet connection.


Offer: If you're a small or medium-sized business with up to 300 users and you currently don’t have Microsoft 365 Audio Conferencing licenses, you can get Audio Conferencing free for one year! Microsoft Audio Conferencing is only available to existing Microsoft 365 users.


Contact the VNET team to get started!

Keeping Up with Microsoft Teams

Teams usage surpasses 115 Million Daily Active Users
Many organizations quickly adopted Microsoft Teams to enable their remote work strategy at the start of the pandemic. With Teams usage up 50% since earlier this year, Microsoft continues to add new features to the platform to improve usability and compete with its rivals Zoom and Google. 


We have highlighted a few of the new features below and have provided a link to a more in depth roadmap that showcases the advances coming soon to the Teams Meeting, Meeting Rooms, and Calling experiences. 


Are you currently using Microsoft 365 but not leveraging Microsoft Teams for chat or video collaboration? Do you plan to use more video focused solutions to engage your employees or clients?


Contact the VNET team today for a demonstration of Microsoft Teams to maximize your existing Microsoft 365 investment and reimagine your meeting room spaces.


Microsoft Teams - New Features in the Last Month


New look when you join a meeting
When you join a Teams meeting you'll be greeted with a new look to your audio and video settings. On the right are your audio settings. Choose between using your computer's speakers (default), a meeting room, your phone, or disable all audio.

On the left, you'll get a preview of your video and a setting to turn on background effects. Need to find a specific mic or camera? Under your video preview, select Settings gear icon to open device settings. Use the dropdown menus on the right to find what you're looking for.

Put a pin in it
Make it easy for you and teammates to access an important post in a channel by pinning it. Have company instructions everyone needs to reference? Pin them. Throwing a cyber disco party? Pin the invite for quick access to all the details. Whatever the message is, you can make it quick and easy to find by hovering on the message and selecting More options > Pin.

All items pinned in a channel can be found in the channel info pane. You'll find this at the top, right of the channel. Select Show channel info and you'll find Pinned posts below the list of members who've recently contributed to the channel.

Be a Teams early bird
If you'd like to try out new Teams features first, join the Teams public preview program! It's new this month (December.) Note that your admin needs to allow access before you can join. Learn how to turn on preview at Get early access to new Teams features.

Do not disturb until after lunch
You can now set a duration for your status in Teams. All you need to do is select your profile picture at the top of the app, select your status (Available, Do not Disturb, etc.) that shows under your name, then select Duration. From there, choose your status and how long you want it to display.

Cut out the background noise
Go to your profile picture at the top of the Teams, go to Settings > Devices > Noise suppression. In the menu, select High for an even stronger suppression of background sounds. So whether your roommate barks at the mailman or does gymnastics outside your door, Teams has you covered with a blanket of quiet.

VNET 30 Years Trivia Question of the Month
On February 19th, 1990, Adobe released an application that would leave a massive impact on the digital arts industry. One of the two brothers who developed the application has also served as the Visual Effects Supervisor for some of the biggest movie and TV franchises in history: What is the name of this application?
Submit your answer to for a chance to win a $25.00 gift card to The Brewerie!

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