People are busy, working fast, tired, and overly trusting. Cyber crooks are targeting people's preoccupation and fears around the coronavirus. IT can do its best, but one bad click can breach a system. Learn about current COVID-19 related IT threats in our latest ebook.
They don’t always get credit, but climbers reaching the summit of Mount Everest rely on a Sherpa to guide them. Making information technology decisions can feel like climbing a mountain, but there’s help for that, too. A managed services provider (MSP) like N-Line Technologies can be your technology Sherpa.
With so many of us working off-site right now, digital transformation has moved from “wouldn’t it be nice?” to “we need to be there now.” Technology is as essential to business success as oxygen is to those scaling Everest. Going digital can be daunting, especially when under pressure to get your business back on track. Where does one even begin?
By working with us, you will partner with consultants to help you navigate the technology mountain.
Even before COVID-19 sent so many people home to work, We provided IT help:
- researching new technologies to help customers collaborate better and work more efficiently;
- finding cost savings and ways to streamline business processes;
- offering cybersecurity and data backup strategies to suit business needs;
- monitoring and maintaining IT networks, systems, software, and applications;
- keeping systems up to date and secure;
- migrating business applications to the cloud.
The current environment is challenging businesses to pivot quickly, yet it’s business as usual for the US. We have prepared for decades to help businesses enable work from home and save money.
Taking the MSP Route
Working with an MSP, you gain the assistance of IT consultants to make the right tech decisions. This isn’t just deciding what online meeting platform works best for your needs (although we can do that, too). We work with you to take the time to learn:
- how you do business now;
- what technology is available;
- how users engage with the technology (on-site, mobile, a hybrid?);
- what your end users are looking for;
- short- and long-term business goals.
With this information, we can provide IT help at the business-strategy level. We will help you to see what works and what doesn’t. Drawing on a depth of experience with other customers, an MSP like N-Line can avoid expensive mistakes. We have a wealth of contacts with technology vendors and so we can often find you better deals.
At N-Line making IT work is our sole focus. You can spend your time on other important areas of your business. For a consistent subscription fee that shows great ROI, we will work to:
- improve efficiency and flexibility;
- enhance security and compliance;
- monitor and maintain your business systems;
- reduce costs and streamline processes;
- identify new technologies that can boost your users’ productivity.
Technology Tailored to Your Needs
Up until now, you may have been taking the guided bus tour approach to technology. You pay for an IT service and expect it to take you from point A to point B without a hitch. When you work with us, you’ll get a tailored IT solution. After getting to know your technology, user practices, and strategy, we will develop for you a customized journey. Your digital transformation will follow a step-by-step approach that considers your particular characteristics.
Let N-Line Technologies be your guide. Our experts can help you pivot if you need to. We can help you allow staff to work at home, securely, and efficiently. We can help you save money. We can help downsize technology if that’s what the current situation requires and make smarter decisions as you scale Mount Technology with the help of our experts.
We can even work virtually to provide the strategic support you need. Contact us today at 432-279-0671!
Online meetings are the new norm for many, but that doesn’t mean people magically know how to enjoy a trouble-free online conference experience. These tips can power more successful meetings.
Many businesses today are working from home with a reliance on Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or GoToMeeting. But even with these platforms offering voice or video capabilities, there can be tech problems. These tips can minimize the trouble and enhance business collaboration.
1. Go Wired
Connecting to Wi-Fi offers flexibility and mobility. Yet when it comes to an online meeting, prefer a wired connection. Enjoy a more reliable meeting connection by plugging your laptop or desktop into the internet router using a network cable.
If you need to use a mobile device and can’t connect via cable, reduce Wi-Fi obstacles. Call in from as a close to the wireless access point as you can. Wi-Fi signals are a form of radio wave, which means they can be hindered by:
So, that important meeting is not the one you join from a cement-bricked basement, not when your Wi-Fi router is in an upstairs bedroom and your neighbors are all relying on Wi-Fi signals, too.
2. Prioritize Your Meeting
When you have a scheduled meeting, announce it to the rest of the household. Ask kids not to get on Xbox or stream movies at the same time as you connect to your meeting. See if you can’t persuade your partner, who is also working from home, not to download large files or new software at the same time as your meeting.
Program your devices to back up at times that won’t compete with your work hours. In the office, your IT team scheduled updates or security patches outside of business hours. Now that you’re doing it all at home, be smart about when you do upgrades. Depending on your home internet speed, trying to do too many things at once can cause trouble for everyone.
3. Test Connections Before the Meeting
You may feel that all you’re doing is meeting online right now. Why would you need to test audio and video each time? Well, every time you unplug a device such as a microphone or headset the settings will return to the default. That means the next time you connect you aren’t set up the way you want to be. You were expecting to listen in using your USB headphones, but the last time you unplugged them your computer switched back to the next available audio input (e.g. your monitor or built-in laptop speakers).
By checking the connection first, you also make sure you have the most up-to-date platform software. You don’t want to be late to a call because your device has decided it needs to re-install Skype right at that moment.
4. Use the Right Equipment
Headsets and external microphones limit the ambient noise. You’ll hear better. Plus, it will make your contributions easier to hear, too.
Muting your microphone when you’re not talking also helps – it reduces the noise pollution. Problems can arise when your mic picks up other people talking through your speakers. This precaution also saves you from apologizing when your dog barks ferociously at the FedEx delivery person.
5. Pick the Best Setting
Plan the best place to take that online meeting. The closer you are to your wireless access point, the better your connection.
Plus, you want to avoid high-traffic areas, as you’re more likely to be distracted. A child or furry colleague could make an unplanned appearance.
Select an area with a simple background, too. Sitting in front of a window may seem like a good idea, but it makes your face darker and more difficult to see on video. Ideally, you want to be in a well-lit room with a plain wall as your background.
6. Take Full Advantage of Online Meeting Features
You may have done conference calls in the past. Everyone called in, spoke when necessary, and that was that. But much of the top business collaboration software offers added features:
Online meetings are efficient and cost-effective. With the current health crisis forcing many of us to adapt to connecting virtually, implementing these ideas can help.
Need help setting up your online meeting platform or deciding on the solution that’s right for you? We can help. Contact us today at 432-279-0671!
Working from home is a big change in an already tumultuous time. Yet there’s a bright side. The quarantine could be your opportunity to reinvent how you work — for the better. Migrating to Microsoft Office 365 has benefits now. Plus, when you’re back to business as usual.
Office 365 is the cloud-based version of Microsoft Office. With a subscription, you get both the desktop and online versions of apps you already know. This includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, and more.
Office 365 enables collaboration in many ways, on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. For example:
- Outlook — primarily associated with email, but also lets you share notes and files
- Teams — a hub for instant messaging, video conferencing and calls
- SharePoint — an internal content management platform. SharePoint lets you customize team sites where you automate workflows and share resources
- Yammer — a social network connecting all the users in your organization
- OneDrive — allows users to share and co-author documents securely
Remote Work with Teams
Microsoft teams at its core is a chat program. But it does so much more. On all your devices, both iOS and Android, Teams allow “channels”. You can have company-wide or small task group channels. Or use a separate channel to instant messaging to a single person.
You can also invite clients or customers into channels to join the discussion. Additionally, you can set up security features that filter what they can access. You don’t want them to know the ingredients to your secret sauce!
Within Teams channels, users can share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Teams also integrates with other software. The options include Zendesk customer support, Asana project management, or Zoom video conferencing.
Using Teams in Office 365 creates a streamlined platform for remote work.
Remote Work with OneDrive
Working on-premises, your users always had access to the business file server. OneDrive is the cloud equivalent. Yet, since it’s online, it’s always accessible. Microsoft hosts the file storage to let you access and share work files from all your devices.
Employees can even work offline. Any changes or edits to files automatically upload when you next connect.
Share OneDrive folders or files with external partners as well. Again, you can secure access with limits on who can see what and specifying what actions they can take. You can even set up automatic revoke access after a set time limit.
Office 365 & Business Security
An Office 365 subscription protects from viruses and cybercrime. It also offers ways to recover your files from malicious attacks.
Office 365 apps update with security patches without any effort on your part. Plus, Outlook scans email attachments and checks links for viruses or phishing scams.
OneDrive helps you restore files, so they’re not held captive in a ransomware attack. Office 365 also lets users encrypt email, prevent forwarding, and secure sensitive files.
Office 365 lets your business communicate and collaborate in real-time. Work on any device, anywhere, at any time. Enjoy business agility and flexibility with internal and external users.
Migrating to the cloud isn’t as simple as pressing the “start” button. Still, our tech experts can get you up and running quickly and with ease. Let us help you go online and get back to business as usual, even working remotely. Contact us or Call us today 432-279-0671.
Get Ready for Effective Remote Work!
Don’t let COVID-19 slow you down. You can Have a Healthy Business Working from Home
Download the ebook to learn:
- Benefits of remote work
- Technology options to empower offsite employees
- Ways to secure remote work and remain compliant
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The Coronavirus is spreading as fast as feared. Businesses must be ready for the worst. One priority? Protecting the health of employees. Preparing the way for remote working is one top recommendation.
News of the virus, which the World Health Organization (WHO) is now calling COVID-19, has prompted urgent interest in remote work. Business collaboration software, virtual desktops, and private networks can all help. This technology helps your business continue as usual, even with quarantined employees.
It’s difficult to imagine you aren’t aware of the looming health pandemic. Trying to limit the contagion, we’ve already seen big business take major measures. These include:
- Nike temporarily closed its European headquarters when an employee was diagnosed with the virus. After the first death in Washington state in the U.S., the company also closed its world headquarters for a deep clean of its campus.
- Twitter told its roughly 4,900 employees to stay home to work.
- The City of Austin Texas has CANCELED the upcoming Annual South By Southwest Music and Movie Festival.
- The NBA is considering holding upcoming games without an audience to curb the possible spread of the disease.
Other businesses are weighing up the options. Furloughs? Changes to sick leave? Or encouraging work from home. The last option appeals, but how do employees work remotely? How can they continue collaborating with people they used to sit beside, meet in the office, or travel to see? Technological solutions.
The Right Technology for Remote Work
Remote workers want a centralized platform with a simplified (yet secure) login process. Business collaboration software is a great enabler of mobile, flexible work. Replace in-person meetings with voice or video conferencing. Streamline chat, voice, and video in one software platform. Tools such as Microsoft Teams from Office 365, Google’s G-suite, or Slack, allow a business to create team channels.
Business collaboration tools also simplify access to email, calendars, documents, and file sharing. Employees can use a single sign-on to access business tools and data. This supports improved efficiency and increased transparency.
Providing a virtual desktop can provide access to important business applications, as well. Virtual desktops in the cloud allow users to work separately from their personal computers. The software virtualizes the user’s unique desktop environment at any workstation. All the data and applications are stored on a central server. Users access apps, folders, and toolbars from anywhere, with a consistent, secure experience.
Using a cloud-based solution also provides peace of mind. While remote workers access the corporate network, the sensitive data isn’t stored locally. So, the business needn’t worry about the loss or theft of sensitive data. Plus, cloud-based virtual desktops are easy to rapidly install outside a quarantined area.
Worried about securing those remote connections? Another option is a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN connects computers, smartphones, or tablets to a shared or public network as if connecting to a private network. These encrypted connections to the internet secure data and protect employees’ mobile activities.
Mobile Work Helps Every Day
You can hope that your employees stay healthy and your business remains unaffected, but why take that risk? Empowering remote work benefits business, even without the threat of a fatal virus.
Remote teams enjoy greater work-life balance. The workers spend less time commuting and are more productive. Empowered, they also feel trusted and more engaged.
Meanwhile, your business can save money on physical space and hardware investments. Additionally, the hiring pool of qualified personnel expands with remote work, and the business can offer its services more globally and flexibly. All that’s true whether the coronavirus becomes an issue for your business or not.
Enabling a remote workforce takes technology. Need help installing and connecting your employees? We can help. Contact us today at 432-279-0671