2021: A year in review

2021 has taught us all a great deal about the nature of hybrid working

With 2021 finally coming to an end, it is a good time to look back on what would have been one of the strangest years in history had it not been for 2020. Indeed, this tumultuous period has become the new normal for many of us, with nomadic working habits, periodic isolation and a heavy reliance on online services for just about everything.

The face of business has also changed beyond recognition during this period, with the covid catalyst speeding up the move to cloud-based services for many companies. We have spent this past year helping our customers make this transition and there have been many valuable lessons learnt during the process.

Hybrid Working

Working from home, the park or even overseas used to be the exception, it has now become an integral part of how we conduct business. Utilising the latest file sharing and collaboration tools available in the Microsoft 365 suite of apps, we have actually seen an increase in productivity and efficiency with our clients. Allowing for greater employee flexibility and shifting to an outcomes vs. behavioural approach by employers has changed the WFH option from a necessary evil to a competitive edge. The culture shift has been aided by programs like Azure Windows Virtual Desktop (Azure WVD) which allows its members to seamlessly switch between their home and work office environments, without disruption.

Teams has also evolved to meet the new WFH challenges, providing the necessary framework for seamless calls and meetings between employees, giving you the flexibility to maintain a hybrid workforce without any interruptions to productivity.

2021 has been a year of consolidation and optimisation for those who made the hybrid working move early, while those clients who made the switch later in the year have been reaping the benefits with each passing month.


Of course, the security issue has always been a top priority, but it really took centre stage when hybrid working became commonplace. The need for an effective security system was starkly demonstrated with the HSE attack in May this year. Outdated software and an absence of Multi-Factor Authentication was partly to blame in that situation, but a simple mindset change can also make a big difference to any organisation. Phishing also remains one of the most common ways for criminals to acquire your personal details.

A mindset change is step one

Just being wary of emails or communication from unknown sources and being on the lookout for oddly phrased sentences or questionable grammar can help you guard against these unwanted intrusions. Installing monitoring software like N-Central or Microsoft’s Sentinel 1 provide you with web-based control of your network to detect any possible threats and act on them before any damage is done. Moving your server to the cloud and updating your legacy software is another step in the right direction. Remember to keep your entire business network updated – the weakest link is often to blame when a security breach occurs.

Don’t assume that you are too small to be a target either, we have seen numerous cases of system breaches across all sectors and business sizes. Sleepless has also been enhancing its services and offerings to tackle the latest security issues out there, and we now offer Vade security software to our customers which is a wide-ranging security tool that monitors and protects against a whole host of online threats.

Looking to the future

2022 promises to offer more of the same challenges that we have already been facing, and as always, there will also be new threats and opportunities to be aware of and we are here to guide you and your business through it. With a comprehensive suite of MS365 tools that can be tailored to your individual needs, all you need to do is get in touch with our team to get you started. Until then, enjoy the festive season and stay safe.