essentials of 2021

Are You Missing These Essentials for 2021?

The stage has been set for the professional world in 2021. Some companies have returned their staff to the office, while others plan to keep employees working remotely. In both situations, these organizations need reliable communications and collaboration solutions. With the right technologies in place, you can have the option to do whatever suits your business needs, plus experience the added benefits these technologies offer.

If you're unsure where to begin, a trusted managed service provider (MSP) partner can help you wrap your head around the tech that best satisfies your needs and complements your bottom line. Invest in your communications and collaboration technology and prepare your company right for the new year.

Communications Q&A

Will your current technology adequately support your staff? Nearly all businesses struggled this year in finding workable solutions to moving their employees to remote work. Moreover, organizations that returned to the office found they couldn't keep up with their client's remote communication demands. If you aren't sure where your communications and collaboration tech stands, consider these common questions and answers:

Q: How can I best communicate with my staff and clients?
A: A reliable VoIP solution will keep you in touch with everyone via video or voice over the internet.

Q: What's the best cloud collaboration solution?
A: Microsoft's SharePoint can become your secure collaboration and file storage hub.

Q: Can I keep my vital files and data protected?
A: Cybersecurity software like two-step authentication, VPNs and firewalls can keep your data protected no matter where it's accessed.

Set your team up for success and expand your business when you get the communications and collaboration software you need.

Upgrade Your Tech, Decrease Downtime

The technology that enables you to have a remote staff has hidden benefits. These communications and collaboration solutions help mitigate downtime because they allow your team and data to remain useful, even when your primary office location or the tech within it have issues.

In a recent study by The Business Journals, they found the primary causes of downtime were caused by:

  • Hardware failures
  • Power or internet outages
  • Cybersecurity threats

With these vital technologies you invested in for remote work, you can also avoid these threats. Don't let a natural disaster, cyberattack or other catastrophic event hurt your company's success. Maximize your assets’ potential with guidance from your MSP.

CaaS Can Tie IT Together

The potential for these tools to benefit your organization is great, but if you aren't sure where to find them or how to best use them, it could become more of a headache than it's worth. Fortunately, you can keep your mind at ease and still get all of the benefits with CaaS or communications as a service.

Let an expert team of technology professionals plan, deploy and maintain your communications and collaboration technologies. This way, you can set your focus on growing your business backed by the right tools. With an MSP by your side, you can be sure all of your technology needs are met and then some.

We Have the Answers You Want

A solid communications and collaboration solution will set you up for success into 2021. Let us provide the CaaS you need so you can succeed in your day-to-day. We have the industry knowledge and experience to provide dependable IT solutions and services to your company.

Meet with us today so we can get started.


benefits of communications as a service

The Benefits of Communications as a Service

Every business leader searches for proven methods to improve their team’s ability to work together. A harmonious work environment allows for better quality work to be completed with greater efficiency. With the right tools in place, your team’s ability to communicate and collaborate increases exponentially – and it can be done without interrupting anyone’s daily responsibilities.

Communications as a Service (CaaS) is your ticket to ride the fastest means of transport to industry-leading communications and collaboration technology. Discover how partnering with an expert team will make your business work better with little to no downtime.

Some Things Never Change

Not everyone has a clear picture of what their business will look like this time next year. But certain aspects of your workday will still be around. Meetings aren’t going anywhere, and no matter if they happen in person, over video or conference call, you need the right technology to facilitate them all.

It’s a safe bet your employees won’t attend these meetings empty-handed either. With a holistic cloud solution, spreadsheets, PDFs and general documents of text can be securely shared over multiple devices in different locations.

With CaaS, reliable communications and collaboration technologies are at your fingertips. Give your team the ability to work together, no matter where they are located.

The Go-To Solution

The industry gold standard for internal and external communications for all great companies is the Microsoft Office suite. If your first thought goes to Excel and PowerPoint, then you’re missing out on the genuine advantages of this software.

Microsoft Office provides integrated solutions that connect the content and number-crunching programs you need with the most modern cloud technologies and reliable communications solutions. Introducing the two communications and collaboration standards:

  • With SharePoint, you can securely access, store, organize and share your documents from anywhere an internet connection is present.
  • Through Microsoft Teams, you will enjoy reliable direct messaging, video chat and internet phone in a single program.

Both platforms are a must for any organization searching for the best way to connect their team, be it remotely and in the office. But you don’t have to set them up on your own to get the workflow you want.

Let the Experts Handle It

Why worry about juggling your responsibilities and distracting your team with a complex data migration and new software? When you find a dependable technology partner, your company can get the communications and collaboration tech it needs without changing its daily operations. With CaaS, it’s very simple.

Your CaaS provider will meet with you to understand your goals and pain points so they can set you up with the workable solution you want with little to no downtime.

Let Us Provide Your CaaS

No matter what you have planned for the new year, a solid communications and collaboration solution will be the foundation on which you can build your success. We have the industry knowledge and experience to provide dependable CaaS to your company and support it as you grow.

Meet with us today so we can serve your communications and collaboration needs.


improve collaboration and productivity

Improving Collaboration to Improve Productivity

Team collaboration has never faced more challenges than the present day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses closed their doors. Others were required to move online and rely on remote capabilities. It’s easy for employees to feel disconnected when they’re anywhere from six feet to thousands of miles apart.

Businesses can keep their workforce closely connected by maximizing the latest technologies, tools and applications to enhance collaboration between team members. Let’s discuss the impact that new technologies can have on organizational productivity in 2020.

What’s Zoom?

A year ago, you may have asked this question, but today, you’re probably familiar with Zoom. Businesses have moved to virtual conference rooms offered by Zoom and Skype because they allow their entire staff to collaborate like never before. Video conferencing software not only personalizes the virtual meeting experience with live video chats, but it also enables instant messaging between team members, screen-share and recording capabilities, among other helpful features. When people can’t sit in the same conference room, video conferencing technology gives colleagues an outlet to connect, collaborate and improve their work culture.

My Apps Can Do That?

Most people are extremely familiar with Microsoft Office products. What they may not know is that they can take these applications to the next level through integration with a cloud-based system. Microsoft Office 365 offers a convenient, easy-to-use workspace that can be accessed anywhere. Employees can seamlessly access shared worksheets, utilize online storage space and get the most out of productivity applications that enable simultaneous collaboration. With Microsoft Office 365, your team can work smarter, more efficiently and stay connected thanks to innovative collaborative tools.

Why Do I Need a Chat Room?

You may think that a workplace chatroom would pose as a distraction to your team. The truth is that group chatrooms can increase productivity. When the physical workspace is compromised during a pandemic, businesses can move their communication and collaborative efforts to a centralized, virtual workspace where employees can connect in seconds. Business communication applications like Microsoft Teams and Slack allow employees to share files, communicate through group chats or video conferencing tools and collaborate easier. You can connect your favorite apps, create automated workflows, schedule calendar events and work together more efficiently.

Although businesses in every industry have faced many challenges in 2020, one lesson we have all learned is that business-related technology is no longer a luxury — it’s a necessity. With the “new normal,” companies that adapt and evolve through innovative communication tools will continue to thrive in the future. The newest technologies can increase collaboration, which in turn, will increase operational productivity. Contact our team of experts today to get IT support that can connect your team from anywhere.

Get connected remotely. Contact us to get started.


2020 end-of-support list

2020’S END-OF-SUPPORT LIST: WHY IT MATTERS & WHAT TO DO

January 14, 2020 is the fast-approaching date when a long list of Microsoft® products and solutions will reach their End of Support. That’s a lot of widely used products, and there’s a good chance your company relies on at least a few of them to get your job done every day.   

WHY IT MATTERS 

Microsoft solutions likely represent a big part of your daily software use. Even still, you might be tempted to ignore those incoming reminders from Microsoft about End of Support  but it’s imperative to your business and your clients that you don’t. Every Microsoft solution on the End-of-Support list will need to be upgraded or you will be facing three serious issues.  

  1. Security is Down – Without the ongoing patching and updates that come out regularly from the Microsoft team, your solutions will be vulnerable to the resulting security and compliance risks that can happen without proactive maintenance.  

  1. UX is Lacking – As patches stop happening, updates aren’t applied and support disappears, your users will start seeing user-experience issues that will make their everyday tasks significantly more complicated. 

  1. Support is Over – If you’re used to calling Microsoft when there’s an issue with one of the solutions on this list, that won’t be an option anymore. Microsoft’s support team will no longer be offering support for any of the listed solutions.

Proactive planning and aggressive action are the keys to making sure this transition leaves your business successful, protected and ready for growth. So how do you make it happen? 

WHAT TO DO 

If you’re ready to be proactive about updating your solutions, you have a few important steps to take.  

  1. Replace your Windows Server instance with cloud-based Azure and Windows Server 2019 

  1. Make the move to Windows 10  

  1. Replace your SharePoint and Office instances with Microsoft 365 and Office 365

These three steps represent a big change for your business and your end users, but making the switch means future-proofing your business and building a stronger foundation for growth. Upgrading to cloud-specific solutions can offer you the flexibility of the cloud without the added cost (and expiration date) of paying for Extended Support from Microsoft.  

But to make the transition to the cloud as successful, simple and stable as possible, you’ll need an IT expert solely dedicated to your solutions and systems. Don’t have one on staff? That’s where we come in. 

HOW WE CAN HELP 

We are the IT experts you need to take the pressure of the 2020 End-of-Support date off of your shoulders. With our comprehensive IT support, we can help you create an upgrade timeline, update your systems and avoid a dip in productivity. Don’t wait until the final hour to think about how your business will handle Microsoft’s 2020 End of Support. Call us today and we’ll get started on your upgrade plan. 


business continuity plan

4 WAYS A BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN CAN HELP YOUR COMPANY

As a business owner, the buck stops with you. Your employees rely on you to have the answers when problem occurs. But what are you going to do when you find out a hurricane or wildfire is heading your way? What about massive hardware failure? Will you be prepared?

Nobody wants to think about a natural or manmade disaster affecting their business, so that’s why companies delay or ignore creating an emergency plan. A Travelers Insurance study found that 48 percent of small businesses have no plan in place.

To be prepared in the event of a data, natural or manmade disaster, companies need to have a business continuity plan in place before a crisis occurs. A business continuity plan is a document outlining how a business will continue services following an emergency.

With that in mind, here are four ways a business continuity plan can help your business:

     1. Identify Essential Business Functions

Do you know the minimum requirements for running your company? One of the primary goals of a business continuity plan is to identify the core functions of your business. These functions are what need to be addressed first to get back up and running at a minimum acceptable level. That way, you can reopen while continuing to address other issues.

     2. Minimize Downtime 

Every hour your website, production line or office is down costs you money in lost profit. Following a disaster, 90 percent of smaller companies fail within a year unless they can resume operations within five days, according to FEMA. With a well-developed plan, your employees will know what to do to get operations running again as quickly as possible. 

     3. Uncover Gaps in Your Business 

While doing a business impact analysis, you may find gaps in your plan. For example, if you’re in manufacturing, do you have a secondary location to shift operations if the main facility is inoperable? If not, then you may need to come up with a plan to temporarily use a rental facility or stock up on emergency inventory.

     4. Get Peace of Mind 

Researching and developing a business continuity plan can be a daunting task, no matter the size of your company. But once you’ve tested your plan and it works, you’ll be glad you have it. You and your employees can rest easy knowing that if the worst happens, you’ll be ready. 

Unfortunately, not all small-to-midsize businesses have the time to halt work and focus on building a plan. Luckily, they don’t have to do it alone. Our team of experts can help simplify the business continuity process to help prepare your business if the worst ever happens.

Stop worrying about the worst-case scenario and contact us today. 


data backup and disaster recovery services

BDR: A SHELTER FROM THE STORM

As a business owner, you’re always focusing on how to best move your company forward. But have you taken time to consider the potential threats to your operations?

Having a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan is the best way to safeguard your data from all types of loss and destruction. Get to know these threats and the preparations you can make to keep your business going when dark clouds begin to loom.

NATURAL DISASTERS

You may assume backing up your data locally on a hard drive is the best way to recover it in the event your primary system fails. But what would you would do if that hard drive (and the entire building it resides in) was destroyed by a natural disaster?
Be it a hurricane, earthquake, fire or flood, the threats to your vital data are very real. But even if your business becomes a sinking ship, you can have enough lifeboats for every byte.

The best course of action is to store all data in a secure location using cloud services. This way, when it’s time to pick your business back up, your only concern will be selecting new office furniture.

CYBER CRIME

A common way for cyber criminals to steal your data and make money is ransomware. This malicious software holds data hostage unless a specified amount is paid. “WannaCry” ransomware was a recent program that received worldwide attention for its effectiveness in blocking access to crucial data. Unfortunately, many of those who paid the ransom never had their data returned.

Setting up a firewall will block most attacks, but having an active image of all your data stored is the best defense. Data images provide a comprehensive and usable mirror of everything you’ve worked on and provide access when your primary system is locked out. It will also save you time on setting up new servers and reinstalling applications.

INTERNAL PROBLEMS

Technology will induce audible rage in even the quietest cubical when it malfunctions for seemingly no reason. Sometimes data loss can occur due to forces from within your company. Even though you invested in the best servers and equipment, there’s always the chance something will cause a catastrophic failure and the loss of everything your business relies on to function.

Data loss can also stem from basic human error. Employees who are new, temporary or even long-term could mistakenly delete vital data. There’s also the unfortunate reality that data could purposely be deleted or corrupted by disgruntled employees.

HOW WE CAN HELP

With so many unpredictable threats looming, BDR is your shelter from the storm. Disasters do happen, but you can rest easy knowing that the most important things will survive. Contact us now and ask how we can disaster-proof your business.