Many businesses were teleconferencing before COVID-19. After all, meeting virtually saves both you and your client time, and busy business owners often don’t want to spend the time to make a trip to your office. The coronavirus has hastened the move to virtual, but this approach presents some new problems, which we’ll address in this article.
First, let’s consider speed. You may have a promised internet speed such as “up to 15 Mbps.” But internet connection speed, which impacts your experience, reflects bandwidth and latency. Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred per second, whereas latency is how long it takes for that data to get from source to destination. You need both to be good to be able to handle many video calls at once. Yet a lot of consumer-grade hardware is not built for several of your staff to be on the same call with a client.
Tip: Switch to a business-grade router. Optimize its settings to ensure security from bandwidth leeches and improve signal strength.
#2 Quality of Service
Large downloads can also impact your connection with a client or team member. If you’re on a video call and someone else in the office downloads a large file, your call could lag or drop. Likewise, if you’re working from home during a conference call and your teen is playing Grand Theft Auto, that could also cause issues.
Tip: Use smart networking hardware. You can rank the activities your business values more to improve Quality of Service (e.g. configuring video conferencing to take data preference ahead of file downloads).
#3 Security and Privacy
With virtual communication, you need to be aware of security and privacy issues. For example, industries such as accountants have to consider compliance with regulations, too. Before jumping on an online call with a client, research the teleconferencing app, not only how it secures the call communication but also what it does with the data collected. Encryption is standard, but end-to-end encryption is the highest level available to you.
Tip: Depending on the app, there may be security options you are not using. They are not set up by default because they can make the software more difficult to use. Still, if security and privacy are a priority, you’ll want to make those changes.
Not all internet service providers (ISPs) are equal. Some ISPs, and the modems or routers they supply, may not be up to the task for your business.
Partner with a managed service provider (MSP) to identify the best options for your team. Perhaps high-quality internet isn’t available in your area. We can help you find a good wireless option. If the internet is unreliable, we can set up failover options to switch your traffic to 4G when necessary.
We can also help you address common issues. Our experts will find you the right hardware to handle your traffic. Plus, we can configure QoS prioritization, block some devices, and schedule activities that need a lot of bandwidth. For example, we can schedule system backups for the middle of the night when fewer people will be online.
Embrace e-conferencing advantages without losing speed, quality, or security. We can help. Contact our IT experts today at 262-515-9499!
That smile of relief when we fix someone’s technology is a gift of doing IT service. When we get a call out, we’re happy to go out (or log in remotely) to fix what’s broken. We enjoy getting our customers back up and running quickly. Who said saving the day is only for superheroes, right?
Still, as much as we get a boost out of being the hero, we’d rather our clients’ systems didn’t go down in the first place.
How can we make that happen? By adding you to our managed services client roster. So, what does managed services mean?
Fixing things when they break is reactive, whereas managed services are more proactive. It involves:
As your managed service provider, we get to know not only what’s gone wrong but also find out your goals and objectives. Understanding what your needs are, we can suggest the technology that best serves you. Plus, we might be able to help you find discounts on new software or cut costs for your home office. After all, we can identify where you are duplicating licenses or paying for more than you need.
Managed Services Make Budgeting Easier
All those services sound costly. The benefit is that you’ll pay a single, consistent monthly fee (or annual fee) for all managed services. Instead of having to handle a big financial hit when something does break, you’re already covered.
Plus, if the worst does happen, we already have a relationship. We know what’s important to you, and we focus on your needs. You’re a regular customer we want to keep satisfied rather than a one-off engagement (not that we don't appreciate those, too!).
Of course, no one can promise you’ll never get hit by a cyberattack. There are new threats every single day. But, if malware does strike, we can get you back up and running more quickly. After all, we’ve been keeping your systems up to date. So, less work needs done to clean up.
Your home IT environment is getting more complicated. Even if you’re not working from home, you probably have a desktop, laptops, tablets, gaming devices, and mobile devices. All these need secure internet access and might need data backup. Really, just connecting all your devices to a shared, secure network is a headache at this point, but it doesn’t have to be your headache. Stabilize your IT expenses and enjoy having an expert on speed dial with managed services.
If you want a higher level of IT support, we should talk about managed services. We can help keep the problems at bay. You’ll be happier. We just don’t get to see it on your face (though you’re welcome to send an appreciative email!). Call us now at 262-515-9499.
Ring in the New Year with New IT
For many of us, 2021 couldn’t come soon enough, and we're hoping this year will be a better one. One way to get the best start in the new year? Take the time now to review business technology. There are several areas that you might improve to support 2021 success.
First, look at your website. In this digital age, your business website is your calling card to the world. It is where your prospects and customers will go to learn more and buy your product or service. Yet many business websites are at least a few years old. That won’t do these days. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C, your buyers are making a decision about your brand based on your website. If your website looks a decade old, they’re going to doubt you’re on top of your game.
When reviewing your website, priorities should be:
Updates in the Office Environment
Of course, there are still people who will pick up a phone and call a business. Traditional phone systems are the reliable business workhorse. But settling for a plain old phone system could mean you’re missing out on a lot. Modern digital phone systems offer you access to a wide range of useful features. With a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone system, businesses of any size can get enterprise-level features.
Also in the office, there may still be employees signing in to desktop workstations running Windows 7. This operating system reached “end of life” on January 14, 2020. That means Microsoft is no longer updating the software. Hackers know that, too, so sticking with the old system could make you vulnerable to cyberattack.
COVID-19 prompted businesses that might have been putting off cloud migration to move up their timetable, but some use virtual private networks or other remote access to enable work from home. It doesn’t look like we’ll be back in the office full-time, full-force at the outset of 2021, so this is also a good time to revisit the idea of cloud computing.
Making Your Business Secure in 2021
Start the new year off right with a resolution to make your business IT more secure. This could mean embracing two-factor authentication as an upgrade to password-only authentication.
Encourage employees to change their passwords. Most people have dozens of online accounts but only two or three unique passwords. So, it’s a good idea to require your people to update their passwords regularly. That way, if a site such as LinkedIn suffers a data breach, you aren’t vulnerable because of an employee’s duplicated password.
Downtime provides an opportunity to review any long-standing IT problems and evaluate how much time or productivity was lost in 2020 while troubleshooting IT. It’s also a good idea to proactively plan your backup strategy and set up for disaster recovery. That way, if the worst does happen in 2021, you’re ready.
Keep your business secure and up to date with the help of a managed service provider. We’ll make sure you’ve got the best technology for your needs. We manage and monitor your IT tools, too. You stick to what you do best, and our experts will focus on your IT. Contact us today at 262-515-9499!
Making New Year’s resolutions is a familiar habit in the Western world. Many people make resolutions relating to their physical or mental health. Fortunately, in our digital world, technology can help make resolutions more attainable.
First, a few fun facts about resolutions.
Did you know:
Twitter did a survey of the most common resolutions of 2017, and top ones included:
The good news? If you set any of these as your resolutions, technology you already have can help!
Tech Tips for Resolutions
Let’s start with trying to change fitness or eating habits. There are an abundance of apps available for that for your phone or your computer. You might try:
You could also set a recurring alarm on your work computer to remind you to get up and walk around for a minute each hour. Those with an Apple Watch already get a notification at 10 minutes to the hour if they haven’t moved enough.
Looking to get more sleep? You could use Night Shift on your iPhone or Night Light on Android devices to dim your screen. Windows also has a Night Light feature (under Settings > System > Display), plus, there’s a Blue Shade option if you have a Fire tablet. All these change screen display to warmer colors, which reduces eyestrain and helps you sleep better.
You might also be interested in Sleep Bug. This white noise app provides 300 different soft sounds to build a background to help you zonk out.
Those who want to read more or learn something new could benefit from limiting social media. Apple has Screen Time and Android has Digital Wellbeing. Both track your app usage, plus, you can set apps to lock if you use them for too long.
You can also use Windows 10 to limit app and game time on computers, tablets, Xbox, and Android devices. Under the Family tab of your Microsoft account page, you’ll find an Activity tab. You can turn on app monitoring, limit app and game usage, and set restrictions for the amount of time and time of day apps can be used.
Good Luck with Your Resolutions!
We’d argue that all this can help with that other resolution, the one where you’re going to be more patient and kind. If you’re feeling healthier, sleeping better, and spending less time in a social media trance, you can be more mindful. And hey! While you’re at it, make that a resolution, too.
If you need help finding the right technology to support your resolutions, we can help! Call us now at 262-515-9499
Tech Force Blog
We provide you with important, practical tips and insight for your technology and networks for both home and business.