Disaster Preparedness – COVID-19

Disaster Preparedness – COVID-19

The World Health Organization provides guidance for businesses and employers about the Coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19. Around the world, officials in government, education, and industry are preparing for a prolonged epidemic. That could include significant shifts to the day-to-day economy–school closures, remote work requirements, and sequestered populations are all possible. Just as we need to be prepared for hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, and fires, the workplace must be prepared for pandemics and epidemics like the coronavirus. Read on to learn about business considerations.  Enable Your Employees to Work Remotely No matter where you live or what industry you work in, it’s time now to prepare for telecommuting work from your whole team. Having an emergency telecommuting plan in place before a disaster strikes can keep your business functioning while your employees stay busy in the safety of their own homes. Make Sure Remote Work Connections are Secure  What supports remote work is the technology that makes it possible. Remote access software allows you to remotely control a computer from a different location and device (a laptop at home). That way you can access all your apps, files, and information, just like physically sitting at the office. In addition, VPNs (virtual private networks) can provide secure access to sensitive data housed on private networks. Using a VPN, your public Internet connection is encrypted and your online activity is shielded. However, home computers using a VPN to connect to an office network can still present cybersecurity problems—if a unprotected home computer happens to get ransomware, it can adversely impact your organization.. Can Your IT Provider Service you Remotely? Consider Managed...
Business Broadband Internet and Your Network

Business Broadband Internet and Your Network

Business Broadband Internet is the engine powering the operations of businesses worldwide. From cloud services to Unified Communications, broadband is what makes fast, uninterrupted business operations possible. Read on to learn more about broadband’s benefits and what to consider before upgrading your connection. The Benefits of Business Broadband Internet In a nutshell, business broadband is a very fast and persistent connection to the Internet. Broadband connection supports Cloud computing, as well as applications including web-hosting and videoconferencing. The speed of business broadband allows a company to be permanently connected to the Internet, saving a business time and, therefore, money. VoiceOver IP (VoIP) calls are clearer, and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are more responsive. Not only is broadband fast, it can be more affordable than expected. A variety of options are available to suit any budget, and the most affordable offer high-speed transmissions for the same price or less as older connectivity solutions. Network Considerations in Using Broadband Internet Before adopting broadband to fully support business operations, the health of your local network should be evaluated. Your local network needs to be robust enough to handle increased traffic and data. Not only should it be free of bottlenecks, it needs to be secure, without any weak spots through which data can be lost or compromised. Furthermore, permanent access to the Internet can open your network to cyberattacks. A firewall, though not the only mode of protection, can be a start. The standard protections of current anti-malware and antivirus definitions can help, along with constant network monitoring. Whether occurring remotely or on-site, monitoring of your network can help spot...
Streamline Customer Service with Unified Communications

Streamline Customer Service with Unified Communications

More than ever, businesses are seeking new communications solutions. Instead of old methods, such as analog phone and private branch exchanges (PBX) and a separate computer network, companies are seeking the benefits of more streamlined, economical solutions. Read on to learn what Unified Communications–and its foundation, VoIP–can do for your business. Unified Communications Provides Greater Efficiency More and more businesses are moving into the future, using an Internet-based communications platform. According to research firm Gartner, adoption of Unified Communications (UC) is expected to grow to $167.1 billion by 2025, with an annual growth rate of 16.8%. The foundational technology, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), allows businesses to make telephone calls using a broadband Internet connection, sometimes right from the computer and sometimes with an adapter connected to their current equipment. Other modes of communication, such as chat and email, can be done over Internet connection also, eliminating the need for separate phone and computer networks. Other capabilities include going from chat to video conferencing, and integration with CRM. Employees then can be current on customer service, projects and confident of processes moving forward.  Considerations Before UC Adoption With all its benefits, Unified Communications can benefit your organization greatly. Not all solutions are equal, however, and it is wise for a company to evaluate its goals to determine what UC services will work best for them. How will this tool help streamline customer service? Which features are most important to have? How many employees does the business have? This last is a key consideration, for many vendors base their rate on the number of employees using the service per month....
Moving Beyond Windows 7 End of Support

Moving Beyond Windows 7 End of Support

With the end of service for Windows 7, businesses need to find another solution. While Windows 7 will not stop working, it won’t be as secure, and the lack of updates and patches will make your system and data more vulnerable to attack. For some, this might be the optimal time to move to the cloud. Ideally, companies have done so, or made the move to the latest operating system. Read on to find out more about what to do to keep your system and data secure. Upgrading Your Operating System In the shorter term, if your business hasn’t upgraded to Windows 10, you can still do that. Windows 10 is worth the upgrade, with automatic updates available, along with better security. Not only that, but by upgrading, you can use a windows operating system that comes with technical support, security updates and fixes. With only a week having passed since the deadline, it is still possible to upgrade to Windows 10 and take advantage of a fast, secure operating system. The longer you go without upgrading, however, the less secure your computer will become. Consider the Cloud One way to more smoothly manage the transition to a new operating system, is moving to the cloud using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). With VDI, updates can be performed by the cloud service provider, providing a seamless user experience. With a cloud service provider handling the infrastructure and providing a connection via the Internet, upgrades will be made easier and possibly less expensive. One cloud delivery model, Workspace as a Service (WaaS) provides access remotely as a web-based office environment. With...
Upgrading from Windows 7 and Windows 2008

Upgrading from Windows 7 and Windows 2008

On January 14, 2020, Windows 7 and Server 2008 will reach the end of their life cycle, with operating system patches and updates no longer available. Networks and connected devices without an upgrade will be left vulnerable to cyberattacks and the resulting loss and/or compromise of data. However, it is not too late to prepare. Read on to learn more about this transition, and the importance of compliance with data regulations.  Windows EoS Migration Readiness The primary goal, as always, is the protection of the network and associated data and applications. Protection from cyberattack–and the loss or compromise of data resulting from an attack–is critical at al times. The transition from Windows 7 presents an opportunity to evaluate the security of your network and data during migration to a new operating system. Ideally, the migration has been carefully planned, and testing will be performed to assess any weaknesses in your network where confidential information might be exposed.  How to Manage Windows EoS Migration and Upgrade A good first step is to inventory your network to assess vulnerability, learning which devices still run Windows 7 and need to be upgraded or replaced. Identify mission-critical systems, data and applications that will need to be available during the migration. Temporary cloud storage is even available to keep these resources safe and your business compliant with any industry regulations. Once the plan is in place, repeated testing is needed to find holes in the network where data can be lost. What’s more, this testing will help fine-tune your preparation for the migration.  The Role of the Cloud in Windows EoS Migrations Cloud computing,...
Getting Your Business Ready for 2020 Information Technology Trends

Getting Your Business Ready for 2020 Information Technology Trends

Last year at this time, it was predicted that technologies like 5G and Internet of Things would be developing trends. This is still true.  According to a survey by CompTIA, the global tech industry is set to grow at a rate of 3.7%, reaching $5.2 trillion. The United States technology market accounts for nearly a third of that, with an expenditure of $1.7 trillion expected in 2020. Read on to learn more about business’ approach to the adoption of these new technologies. New Technologies Making Inroads in 2020 While technologies of infrastructure and software development (Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, respectively) will continue to gain ground, for many businesses they are secondary to the infrastructure and software development that already exist. Some other emerging technologies mentioned by CompTIA include software development (Software as a Service, for instance) and big data analytics. These technologies that are coming to the fore may drive revenue growth, once they are integrated with already-present technology to create innovative solutions. The Four Pillars of Information Technology According to an IDC survey, companies plan to orient their technology spending to four “pillars” of information technology: software development, cybersecurity, data, and infrastructure. Of the companies surveyed, 57% plan to focus on software development. With the infrastructure already in place, along with the users and connectivity being available, U.S. companies can focus on developing the software and services supported by this foundation. Cybersecurity follows close behind, with 51% of surveyed companies focusing on expanding their defenses against cyberattack and establishing internal processes and policies to keep their operations secure. A portion of companies (47%) will choose to...