Your data is pivotal to running a successful company. If you don’t have proper security measures in place, hackers can easily steal your data and take you out of business.

Cybercriminals might be the biggest threat facing your company. Besides gaining access to your money and accounts, they can also take over critical software, preventing you from collaborating with clients.

Any organization can fall victim to hacking. However, small and medium businesses are particularly at risk.

Why?

Too often, their owners don’t always address cybersecurity when launching their company. Sometimes, they even just hire the first IT service provider they see. They also don’t know how to shield themselves from online attackers, making them low-risk targets.

As a result, these organizations often go under due to the loss of sensitive data. It isn’t a risk you can take.

To help mitigate these risks, this article will introduce you to the various types of hackers to help you understand what exactly you are protecting your business against.

THE 5 TYPES OF HACKERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Here’s a quick list of potential hackers, depending on what they’re after:

#1. HACKERS WHO ARE AFTER PERSONAL INFORMATION

Many hackers are dying to get their hands on the personal information of your clients and employees. It includes birth dates, financial data, and social security numbers.

Social security numbers might be the most valuable asset they want to get a hold of since cybercriminals can use them for various purposes. For instance, they can perform tax fraud, open credit accounts, and make other significant identity breaches.

In addition, financial data can be utilized for fraudulent activities and purchases, especially if it lacks robust digital security systems.

#2. HACKERS WHO WANT TO GET INTO THE DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Storage and data servers are expensive – and hackers know that.

In order for them to cut costs, hackers may aim to store their applications and data on your infrastructure instead. The better your infrastructure, the more likely cybercriminals are to target it. This can strain your network to the limits and have devastating effects on your business.

Unsurprisingly, tech companies are some of the most common victims of this type of hacking.

The common indicators that a hacker has tapped into your digital infrastructure include:

  • Running out of storage faster than usual
  • Your network suffers slowdowns
  • You may have unknown devices on your network
#3. HACKERS WHO ARE AFTER CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

Few business aspects are as important as your intellectual property (IP). Your products and services enable you to stand out from the competition and strike a chord with the target audience.

A huge problem arises if hackers steal the design of your upcoming product before you launch it or submit your patent. A competitor may obtain the information, allowing them to hit the market first and undercut your sales.

#4. HACKERS WHO WANT TO GET ACCOUNT DATA

You and your IT service provider might have done enough so that hackers might not be able to obtain financial data, but are your employees’ accounts secure?

If hackers compromise them, they may let them run scams and gain information to disrupt your operations.

For example, losing CEO login credentials can be devastating. Besides granting hackers access to sensitive information, it also helps them impersonate the CEO. In return, they can solicit information from employees or clients and halt your operations.

This data breach can lead to widespread confusion, tarnishing your reputation.

#5. HACKERS WHO AIM TO HAVE NETWORK CONTROL

In some cases, hackers aren’t after data. Instead, they want to gain control of your entire network. To make this happen, they launch ransomware attacks.

These activities enable them to lock you out of the system and make data inaccessible until you pay a ransom. They’re typically initiated through spam, phishing emails, and online ads.

The average ransom amount stands at approximately $30,000, but the loss caused by business disruption is much more significant.

STAY ON THE SAFE SIDE

Battling hackers may not be the most exciting part of running a business. However, neglecting cybersecurity turns your company into a sitting duck for scammers. You may lose money and data, and your reputation might suffer irreparable damage.

While there isn’t a bulletproof solution, there are many ways that your business can mitigate these risks.

Contact us today if you want to discuss your cybersecurity and pinpoint potential risks. You can book a 15 minute, no obligation call with us at www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Your business can benefit a lot from working with an IT provider. However, you need to avoid several key mistakes when choosing your team.

Time spent on trying to figure out the technology you use in your business can be costly. While doing that, you can’t focus on your business needs, which can then result in poor customer satisfaction.

This is where IT providers come into play.

They enable you to outsource hardware and computing-related services, such as managed IT security and cloud computing. IT providers can also provide a robust IT infrastructure so that you can direct your attention to revenue-generating activities.

While there are numerous IT providers to choose from, not all of them will accommodate your business’s specific needs. Integrating with the wrong team can raise your spending due to irrelevant services, recurring security issues, data backup problems, and downtime.

Therefore, you need to be extra careful when selecting your team. The only way to avoid disappointment is to avoid these eight common mistakes when looking for the right IT provider.

THE EIGHT MISTAKES

MISTAKE #1 – INSISTING ON THE NEWEST TECHNOLOGY

Many advertisers want to trick you into believing that the latest technology will resolve all your issues. While the newest virtualization or cloud offerings can boost operations in many enterprises, they might not suit your business.

Hence, don’t let the hype surrounding new products dazzle you.

Carefully consider the results your IT provider will help you achieve and determine if those results are worth the level of investment. Your provider shouldn’t confuse you with state-of-the-art features – they should guide you and allow for seamless integration.

MISTAKE #2 – FAILURE TO CONSIDER THE RESPONSE TIMES

Determining the response times of your prospective IT providers is essential. You need to ask them how long they usually take to reply to queries and resolve problems. Be sure to gauge their onsite support efficiency too.

Not inquiring about their availability is another grave error. Your IT team should provide round-the-clock services, including specialists that will monitor your system.

Constant monitoring and availability can help ensure you can detect IT issues early. With this, the provider can immediately administer patches and updates to safeguard against disasters.

Furthermore, your IT provider should offer simple access to their desk support. You should be able to contact them via email, phone, and chat for instant guidance.

MISTAKE #3 – NEGLECTING THE SECURITY ASPECT

Disregarding the security features of your IT provider might be the most severe mistake. Teams with improper defence mechanisms can’t shield your system from cyber attackers, increasing the risk of losing data and access to resources.

To avoid this, look for IT providers that can protect you from malware and other threats. They also need to prioritize protecting your business’s confidential data, like trade secrets and customer information.

When it comes to specific security measures, your IT provider should have features that prevent data intrusions instantly upon detection. The list includes phishing attacks simulations, web content filtering, DNS security, endpoint protection, mobile device management, and dark web protection.

In addition, responsible teams should eliminate point-of-sale and network intrusions before they compromise your system. Making sure they abide by security compliance and government regulations is also paramount.

MISTAKE #4 – FORGETTING THE BUDGET

Many IT companies operate under pay-as-you-go pricing schemes. Although this helps you minimize upfront investment, adopting a large number of technologies simultaneously without considering the recurring costs can cripple your finances.

Thus, think twice before signing on the dotted line.

Research your providers thoroughly and draft your budget with professional assistance. These steps can prevent considerable frustration down the line.

MISTAKE #5 – NOT DETERMINING SCALABILITY

One of the biggest impediments to growing your company is choosing an IT provider with poor scalability.

In contrast, scalable IT teams allow your business to evolve and grow. They can continually extend their services to accommodate your company’s goals, even if these goals change.

MISTAKE #6 – OPTING FOR A NON-RESPONSIVE SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT

Service level agreements (SLAs) hold IT providers accountable for their services. It establishes standards for responsibilities, quality, scope, and delivery time in writing. Without it, you’ll have no way of ensuring transparent collaboration.

When selecting your IT provider, find one with a responsive agreement. It can help guarantee the SLA scales with their services while rendering continual improvement.

MISTAKE #7 – LACK OF TEAM TRAINING AND FEEDBACK

The story doesn’t end once you’ve found and partnered with a trustworthy IT provider. New technologies won’t magically increase your bottom line and decrease outputs.

To accomplish your goal, your employees will still need to understand how to use your new tech solutions. Bear in mind though, not every team member may be able to grasp new tools easily. Some may prefer the existing platforms.

Fortunately, you can hire IT experts to train them. These professionals should simplify any complex steps and advise your staff on making the most of your new investment.

Also, some enterprises set up regular training but fail to monitor their team’s performance. This is a huge mistake, as it keeps you from assessing your employee’s response to new technologies.

So, conduct questionnaires and other forms of feedback collection to determine and address any weaknesses.

MISTAKE #8 – IGNORING EXPERIENCES WITH PREVIOUS CLIENTS

Choosing an IT provider is similar to buying standard products and services. Failure to check user reviews can lead to disappointment.

To get a clear picture of your IT team’s capabilities, analyze their current and previous clients from similar industries. Look for reviews, testimonials, and ask the provider for a list of projects and references.

After doing your due diligence, you should be able to tell whether an IT provider is an ideal match for your company.

However, keep in mind that every IT team is different. For instance, they might be well-versed in the healthcare industry but have no experience working with retailers. That’s why as mentioned, stick to IT providers servicing your industry to get the best results.

FIND THE RIGHT FIT

Nobody wants to end up with a poor IT provider that can’t deliver great results, leaves your company open to cyberattacks, and causes other vulnerabilities. Your investment goes down the drain, and your operations suffer.

Luckily, we can show you a way out.

Let’s arrange a 15 minute, no obligation call. We can discuss more ways on how to find the right IT provider for you and ensure you get your money’s worth. Visit www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Updates are crucial for all our devices. They’re released regularly to help protect us from the security flaws and vulnerabilities that cyber criminals love to exploit. Updates also help us by making software and applications more usable and adding new features.

It’s best practice to run updates as soon as possible on every machine across your business. If you already do this, you can give yourself a high five.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has reported that there is an enormous number of Windows PCs that aren’t up to date.

So, what’s happening? Is it just staff clicking the ‘later’ button when they get the update notifications? That certainly may account for some of it. Updates can be time consuming and sometimes people need to get on with their work. Though we certainly don’t condone this behaviour, we do understand it.

Technical problems with updates may account for some of these out-of-date PCs too, but the majority of update issues are coming from something else entirely. It turns out that Windows machines often need to be connected to the internet for a very long time for updates to work properly.

Microsoft’s recently explained that when an update is installed, a device must remain on and connected to Windows Update for a minimum of two consecutive hours, and six hours in total. That gives your device time to successfully download the update and install it.

The best way to make sure all your devices are successfully updated every time is to insist that your team leave their devices powered on and connected overnight.

This also means that you have to check your Power Management settings to stop your devices from going into hibernation mode or deep sleep too quickly.

To offset any environmental impact, you should also ensure you’re following the recommended power settings on each device.

If you’d like any help checking that all your devices are running the latest security updates, book a 15 minute, no obligation call with us at www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

 

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

OneNote is a digital note-taking tool that comes with plenty of benefits for users. What you may not have realized yet is how powerful this app can be for enhancing team collaboration. 

Notetaking… This is an essential part of day-to-day operations for many business owners, managers, and teams. After all, people can’t rely on their memory alone to recall everything that gets talked about each day, especially when it concerns important matters.

When it comes to notetaking, traditional methods such as pen and paper are effective but take too long. Modern-day businesses need something that allows them to work faster, which why they opt for digital solutions like OneNote.

OneNote is a productivity tool that leverages cloud and Microsoft technologies to make information capturing, storage, and sharing a breeze.

Think of OneNote as a hub for all notes that allows you to organize them in many ways. It even allows pinning multimedia documents next to simple text.

So, if you’re looking for a robust digital note-taking tool, OneNote may be the solution for you.

Keep reading to discover the numerous ways in which this tool can be helpful for you and your business.

Why Should You Rely on OneNote?

OneNote is not just a powerful tool for notetaking. It’s also a useful tool that allows you to perform various functions for easy information processing.

Some of its main benefits include:

BENEFIT #1. PROMOTING REAL-TIME COLLABORATION

OneNote is part of Microsoft’s fully-cloud based Office 365 suite. This means OneNote users can share files with other team members or clients in real-time. Multiple people can view and edit their notes simultaneously, allowing for a seamless collaboration anytime.

A great thing about real-time editing is that you can track all changes to the file. You can even restore the previous version of a document in case of accidents.

Businesses that run in multiple locations can benefit from this feature as well because people located across the country can work on the same project without affecting team collaboration.

Simply put, there’s no need to trade emails and waste time waiting for responses – managers can have an easy time collaborating with their team instantly without ever leaving the office.

BENEFIT #2. SECURING SENSITIVE INFORMATION

Doing business online and sharing sensitive data comes with security risks. This is especially true for notebook software. Fortunately, OneNote comes with a set of security features that protect your data from being exposed to third parties.

For example, you can lock specific sections with passwords while having all your information secured with 3DES encryption at all times. And if your password-protected documents remain inactive for a long time, the software will automatically lock them to prevent data leaks.

BENEFIT #3. INTEGRATION WITH OTHER SOFTWARE

Like other Office 365 suite apps, OneNote has great integration abilities. You can sync your OneNote with Outlook to send email information directly to the app and vice versa.

What’s more, you can integrate this software with non-Microsoft apps as well. Some notable plugins include Zapier, Slack, Trello, Evernote, Dropbox, Salesforce, and many others. All your essential apps will be synchronized, allowing your team to be more productive each day.

BENEFIT #4. PROJECT MANAGEMENT

OneNote has dozens of uses for general business. However, it’s especially suitable for project management.

Project managers often deal with issues such as team member misunderstandings, communication delays, or project bottlenecks. Thanks to Microsoft’s note-taking tool, many of these issues are quickly alleviated.

Project management can become more straightforward because OneNote makes it easy for the manager to track each team member’s achievements. They can update timelines, check off completed tasks, or assign new ones with ease.

TAKE ONENOTE TO THE NEXT LEVEL

If you have never used OneNote before, you may be interested to learn about some tips to help you get the most out of the software.

TIP #1. CREATING QUICK NOTES

Quick Note is a great feature that lets you write down a thought when you’re out having lunch or away from the office.

Imagine being in the store and remembering you haven’t responded to an important email. You can take your phone, open the One Note app, and create a Quick Note reminding you of this task.

The next time you open OneNote on your computer, you’ll see the message there.

This feature is similar to Sticky Notes, as it lets you jot down any idea or thought in a matter of seconds. All your notes will be saved in the “Unfiled Notes” section of your “Quick Notes” notebook, a place where all your notes are saved by default.

TIP #2. SEARCHING ACROSS ALL NOTES

Searching for notes becomes more challenging as time passes. If you’re an active user, you can find yourself storing hundreds of notes in a matter of months. But don’t worry, as there are tons of options to organize your notes as well as search for it.

OneNote has a built-in search option to make note finding easier.

All you need to do is click on the magnifying glass or hit “Ctrl” (or “Command” for Mac) + “F” on your keyboard and look for a phrase or word. The software will go over all your typed, handwritten, and even picture notes.

You can further narrow the search by selecting the drop-down arrow and choosing the desired option. You’ll see all matching results highlighted in your notes.

As you find the note you needed, you can close the search by pressing “X” on the right-hand corner.

TIP #3. USING PRE-MADE TEMPLATES

OneNote is designed to have a blank canvas for each new note to give users a whole lot of flexibility. However, you can find this approach to be too basic sometimes. So, why not add some style, structure, and colour to the app?

Thankfully, there are tons of pre-made templates to choose from. You can download a template with decorative backgrounds, to-do lists, planners, and more.

Note that you can use the templates only on new OneNote files. The ones that already contain text won’t work since most designs require content to appear in a specific place on the page.

If you need to add a template to your existing note, simply create a new one, then copy the existing text over.

TIP #4. SCANNING DOCUMENTS FROM YOUR SMARTPHONE

Do you need to take notes from a scanned document? That’s not an issue for OneNote. You can use the Microsoft Lens: PDF Scanner App (available for Android and iOS) to take high-quality scans of multiple documents using your phone and upload them to OneNote.

BECOME THE MASTER OF NOTE-TAKING

Digital note-taking tools have helped thousands of workers and managers become more productive. OneNote is one such software that seems to have it all – abundant features, flexibility, and ease of use.

Whether you’re a business owner who wants to boost your team’s performance or a project manager that needs better tracking of the project timeline, OneNote has something in store for everyone.

If you’d like to learn more about how this powerful tool can help you make your business better, feel free to book a 15 minute, no obligation call with us at www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Google Drive is more than a file-sharing platform. It allows you to streamline your work in ways you never thought were possible.

I’m sure you already know that organization within your business is crucial for success. That is why we are always looking for new ways to make organization easier in our business.

Dealing with messy files and folders is of no help to you, your colleagues, or your clients. Instead, it keeps you unproductive and negatively impacts your business in so many ways.

Fortunately, Google Drive can be of great help in this area, especially when it comes to improving workflow in a business. This suite of apps has tons of features that can help the whole team be more effective at handling their workload.

Google Drive allows you to organize your folders on a cloud platform starting with 15GB worth of space, back up files, share files, etc. You can also share your PDFs, audio, photos, slides, and important work files in one place.

You can maximize your productivity on Google Drive by tapping into several handy features. This article lists 7 of them.

 

THE 7 FEATURES

FEATURE #1. SHARING FILES WHILE CONTROLLING ACCESS

Google Drive has robust sharing capabilities that allow for work collaboration. All you need to do is click on a file or folder you wish to share and create a shareable link or invite others to access that file.

What’s more, every file and folder on this platform has its own sharing link that’s highly customizable. You can also determine user permissions for each item which means you can control whether the person with access can only view, make comments, or edit the document(s).

Additionally, you can add a time limit for file or folder access. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the user who has access to your file or folder on Google Drive.
  2. Locate their email address and hover over to the right-hand side. A clock icon will appear.
  3. Enter the expiration time.

 

FEATURE #2. PUBLISHING FILES TO THE INTERNET

Google Drive is among the best platforms out there for publishing files online. You and your team can access the uploads from anywhere in the world so long as you have an internet connection.

A great thing about published files is that they sync to all devices that use the Drive app. This means the files you uploaded to your computer will be visible on your phone app and vice versa. All it takes to access those files is signing into your Google account.

 

FEATURE #3. VOICE TYPING

If you need to upload a written file on Google Drive, you can use Google Docs and dictate the text instead of typing. This will save you a lot of time when working with both short and longer files.

So, how can you use this feature?

  1. Navigate to “Tools” on your Google Docs file.
  2. Click on “Voice typing” from the dropdown menu.

You can use words such as “period” and “next line” to let the recorder know how to organize your speech. Once you’re done recording, proofread your text to finish.

 

FEATURE #4. ASSIGNING TASKS TO EMPLOYEES WITH COMMENTS

Google Docs makes it easy to tag a person and assign them a task for a specific file section. Whether they need to revise, proofread, manage sources, or rearrange their work, you can easily let them know what they need to do by adding comments.

Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Open the file that needs task assigning on Google Docs.
  2. Use your mouse to highlight the part that needs reworking and right-click on it.
  3. Select “Comment” for the Comment section to appear to the right of the highlighted text.
  4. Type “+” or “@” then a person’s name to tag them in that comment. You can also tag people by entering their email addresses.

The tagged person will then receive a notification about this action and be invited to open the file.

 

FEATURE #5. USING TEMPLATES

Google Drive supports free templates for all account levels. You can use Google Sheets, Docs, or Slides, all loaded with hundreds of templates for different project types.

To choose or look for templates, open the tool and click on “Template Gallery” or use the search box to find templates that fit your project.

You can also access these tools from your Google Drive – go to the homepage, click “New,” and select the file type you want to work with (slides, docs, or sheets). Then choose “From a template” to choose between templates offered by Google Drive.

Additionally, you can use Google Forms templates to design event invitations and surveys, all in a matter of minutes. Simply visit Google Forms and choose from the template gallery. You can choose between Contact Information, RSVP, Party Invite, Event Registration, and other templates.

 

FEATURE #6. SORTING YOUR FILES BY SIZE

Google Drive sorts your uploaded files and folders by recently added or modified files by default. This is useful because it gives you quick access to files you work with often.

If you want to free up some Google Drive storage, you may want to sort the files according to their size and delete the ones you don’t use often that take too much space.

You can do so by following the steps below:

  1. Navigate to Google Drive and click on “Storage” at the bottom of the left-hand side menu.
  2. From here, you’ll see a list of files sorted by size, with the largest ones first on the list. Click on an unnecessary file and remove it from your Drive by clicking on the Trash Bin icon.

Make sure to delete this file from the Trash folder to clear up space on your cloud.

 

FEATURE #7. DOING ADVANCED SEARCH

Let’s say you’re searching for documents with specific keywords appearing in multiple files. In this case, you can use the advanced search on Google Drive. The platform allows you to filter your results by location, file type, owner, shared with, date modified, and more.

All you need to do is click on the “Search Options” icon on the far right side of the search bar.

 

GET THE MOST OUT OF GOOGLE DRIVE

Organizing your files is crucial to making you and your employees more productive in running your business. In this aspect, Google Drive more than proves its worth.

Google Drive is a great tool that comes with numerous features to help you organize your files and folders, share them with the world, assign tasks, exchange valuable information, and more.

The seven features mentioned above will help you streamline your work processes and make file creation, sharing, and search more straightforward.

If you’d like to learn more about how Google Drive can help you improve your business, we would be happy to tell you more about it. Book a 15 minute, no obligation call with us at www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

While the cyber security of your business should always be a high priority, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means that businesses may be at an increased risk of cyber-attack.

Although there is no direct threat at present, the West is placing a range of sanctions on Russia. There could be retaliation and Russia has used cyber-attacks in the past.

But what does this mean for your business?

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has issued a ‘shields up’ warning to businesses and says they must be prepared to defend against cyber-attacks originating from Russia.

Businesses of all sizes will be at risk as the aim will be to cause as much disruption as possible.

This means that you can’t afford to slack off on your usual cyber security measures. If there’s something you’ve been meaning to get around to doing, now is the time.

The first thing you need to make sure you have in place is a working backup. Should you be hit by a cyber-attack, such as a ransomware attack, you will still be able to access all of your data and documents.

Ensure that all your applications, systems and devices are running the latest updates, and that any relevant patches are in place. You should also make sure best practice is being followed when it comes to password hygiene.

Make use of password managers to ensure your whole team uses unique passwords that are less susceptible to brute force attacks. You should also strongly consider using multi-factor authentication (where you get a login code on another device) across your applications for a higher level of security.

Check that your incident response and recovery plan is up-to-date and that everyone is aware of the steps they should take if they suspect a security breach. Your people need to know who to report a possible breach to, and who is responsible for protecting the business.

You may also want to consider company-wide cyber security training – and this really does mean everyone from the most senior employee to the most junior. This will help to make everyone aware of the most common threats, and teach them how to spot scams and phishing emails.

Finally, if you’re unsure that you have the right protections in place, speak to an expert who can help put your mind at ease and make sure your business is as protected as possible.

We’re here to help. If you have any concerns that your cyber security has fallen behind, book a 15 minute, no obligation call with us at www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

 

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Remote working has really come of age in the last two years. Many people have loved it, while others have realized that they prefer an office environment.

Can you guess how many people would like to make remote working a permanent option? According to a new report, a whopping 96% of employees want to solely work from home, even when the pandemic is over. They’d even be willing to take a pay cut to make that happen.

But wait – it gets even more shocking. Of these people, a third said they’d be willing to sacrifice HALF of their monthly wage to do so. Not only that, but they’d also give up their health benefits and even paid time off.

Are you as shocked at those figures as we are?

In terms of work/life balance, some people have never had it better. Now that things are slowly recovering, they’re not going to want to give it up.

Many of your people might not want to go back to the stress, the distraction, and the commuting. It is even likely that some of them don’t want to leave their beloved pets on their own!

As an employer, giving the option to make remote or hybrid work permanent seems like an ideal solution. You’ve already seen that your people can be trusted to do a great job wherever they work. You may have even seen an increase in motivation and productivity.

Your business could even cut down on some of its fixed costs, with office space being one of the big savings.

If you’ve only had temporary work from home measures in place for the last 2 years, it’s time to make them official. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to make sure that everyone’s home set-up is suitable before permanently transitioning to remote working.

The first priority is to look at data security. How do your people access your network? Do they have the right security measures installed on their devices? Are their home networks protected from unauthorized access?

But it’s not just security that you need to consider. You will also need to look at the collaboration tools you’re using. If your team is unlikely to be in the same place at the same time, should you invest in a better solution to make sure communication doesn’t suffer?

As well as reporting on salary sacrifices, the report also found that nearly 2 in 5 people feel ignored in video meetings. Upgrading their equipment and devices might be the answer. Professional quality webcams and microphones can help by making sure video quality is high and that voices are heard.

Don’t forget that older laptops or desktops will need to be upgraded every few years to make sure they’re performing well and costing you less to maintain.

If you’d like any help making sure your home setups are right for permanent remote workers, feel free to book a 15 minute, no obligation call with us at www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

 

 

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Instant voice communication with your whole team at the push of a button

If you have looked at all the new features in your Microsoft Teams application, you might have noticed the walkie talkie feature. If you have an Android device, maybe you’ve already tried it out?

Now Microsoft has rolled it out to iOS devices as well, meaning it can be used by every member of your team. We believe it has the potential to become a powerful communication tool. Let’s look at what it is before we explore how you could use it.

If you were alive back in the 1980s, you’ll remember real walkie talkies. They were the coolest way to talk to your friends on the move – long before we had mobiles, of course. If you’re too young to remember the 80s, then go watch a few episodes of Stranger Things and you’ll get the idea.

With a walkie talkie you press a button to talk, and everyone who has a device on the same frequency as yours can hear you speak. They can only reply when you let go of the button and only one person can speak at a time. What that gives you is ordered, real time voice conversation between a group of people.

This new Teams feature works in exactly the same way. There’s no need to call anyone. Like a real walkie talkie, you just push a button on your phone to speak, and everyone in your team channel can hear you.

It works on both Android and iOS devices as long as they’re connected to the internet. It even works if your phone is locked.

Walkie talkie was originally created with front-line workers in mind. The idea is that when you’re away from your workplace you can quickly and securely communicate without additional devices or being slowed down by the hassle of a phone call (which can mean going through a voice-automated system or waiting for a mobile to be answered).

We can see this being useful for remote workers too. It doesn’t matter whether your team is in the office or working from home – they can have a voice conversation in real time, instantly.

Just like the old days when everyone worked in the same space.

Can you see how that would help your business?

Before you can use walkie talkie in Teams, you’ll need to make sure it’s enabled. Your administrator will need to do this in the Teams admin center – it’s really easy.

If you’d like help setting up this or any other Microsoft feature, book a 15 minute, no obligation call with us at www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

 

 

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

As you may have heard, Microsoft is increasing its subscription prices for Microsoft 365 in March. This is the first big price rise in a decade and we are expecting it to be 20 to 40 percent more then you are currently paying.

Microsoft is also changing the way it sells 365. It will take some time to get used to and there will likely be some short-term pain in the process. You should talk to your IT support partner over the next few weeks to see exactly how it is going to affect your business.

Here are the basic details. You will have a choice between sticking with the rolling month by month contract and swallowing the price increase or you can commit to a 12-month agreement.

The big benefit of the agreement is that it will lock your current pricing for a year. However, this comes with some downsides as you will lose a lot of flexibility. During your contract you can increase the number of licenses you use but you can’t decrease them. This means that if you take on more staff, giving them access to the essential business tools they need won’t be a problem. On the other hand, if your headcount goes down for any reason, you’ll have to pay for the 365 licenses you no longer need.

Another downside is that you also won’t be able to move your Microsoft licensing to another IT support company during that contract.

The other option is to have a monthly rolling contract. You can add or remove licenses as needed, but overall, the price will be higher. For some businesses, that flexibility will be worth paying extra.

It’s worth thinking through your plans for the next 15 months before deciding.

If you want to talk through which option’s going to be best for you, book a 15 minute, no obligation call with us at www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

 

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

With the continuing shift towards remote working, health is an ongoing concern. Find out how to stay healthy even when you’re working from home.

The global pandemic resulted in many workplaces implementing work-from-home policies. In doing so, many of these workplaces have discovered that there are significant benefits to providing employees with the option of doing their work remotely.

According to a survey conducted by CoSo Cloud, 77% of people believe they are more productive when working from home. Another study, conducted by commercial real estate firm CBRE, suggests that up to 69% of millennials are willing to sacrifice certain workplace benefits to have more flexible working options. The video conferencing company, Owl Labs, also found that 74% of people say they are more likely to stay with a company if they have the option of working from home.

The simple message is that working from home is likely to become the new normal in the coming years. However, working from home also presents challenges.

No longer faced with the need to commute to the office, people may find that they are less focused on their health. Some may also find they have limited access to exercise equipment or other resources that help them to stay healthy.

In this article, we will share five tips on how you can stay healthy when working from home.

 

TIP #1 – STOCK UP ON HEALTHY SNACKS

The kitchen is only a short walk away when you are working from home. Unfortunately, this also means that it is very easy to access sugary snacks at any point.

The solution is to eliminate unhealthy snacks from the kitchen or make them a little less convenient to access. To start, try keeping a few healthy options in an easy-to-access spot near your work area. This will make you less tempted to venture to the kitchen in search of something sugary.

In the kitchen, keep a good stock of fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks available. Make these healthier options visible by placing them on the counter while hiding the unhealthy snacks in the cupboards. This will allow your healthy snacks to act as a visual reminder to stick with the foods that are good for your body.

 

TIP #2 – MOVE EVERY HOUR

It is easy to spend too much time at the computer when you are working from home. This leads to long periods of sedation in which your body isn’t moving.

Sitting for several hours at a time is linked to a range of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. By committing to moving for a few minutes every hour, you reduce your risk of experiencing these conditions.

Consider setting a timer to remind yourself to get up every hour. Spend a little time walking around the house or go for a quick walk around the block before resuming work.

 

TIP #3 – USE AN ACTIVE SITTING CHAIR

In addition to walking every hour, there are several ways that you can stay active even when working.

For example, sitting on an exercise ball is a great way to keep your body engaged while you’re in front of a computer. The unstable nature of the ball forces you to use your core muscles to stay upright, strengthening your body in the process.

Some take this a step further and choose to work while standing. Keep in mind that while this is an effective technique, it does require you to have a desk at a suitable height. If your desk is too low, you may cause issues with your posture due to having to bend over constantly.

 

TIP #4 – ADD A COUPLE SIMPLE EXCERCISES TO YOUR ROUTINE

Take a few minutes each day to perform a couple simple exercises, such as squats or jumping jacks.

Squats involve using your own weight to strengthen your lower body. You can use dumbbells to create further resistance if you’d like to make this exercise more challenging. However, only do so when you’re already confident in your technique without using any additional weights.

Jumping jacks elevate your heart rate and work your entire body. They allow you to improve your cardiovascular conditioning without requiring a lot of room. You can also add resistance using free weights, although this should only be done when you’ve mastered the technique.

 

TIP #5 – CREATE A STRESS-FREE ENVIRONMEN

One of the best things about working from home is that you have complete control over your environment. Use this to your advantage by creating an environment that allows you to tackle stress.

For example, placing scented candles around your desk creates a more relaxed environment. Ensuring you have plenty of plants in your home office has also shown to be effective. Additionally, working near a window helps to reduce stress, as having a view of nature can be soothing.

 

YOUR HEALTH IS A PRIORITY

While working from home offers a range of benefits in terms of flexibility, productivity, and work/life balance, it can also lead to a more sedentary working environment. Overcoming this requires you to come up with ways to keep your body healthy, even when you’re spending long hours sitting in front of a computer.

The tips shared in this article will help you do just that and best of all, none of them require you to buy expensive exercise equipment.

Now, there are many more challenges related to remote work that both employees and businesses need to stay on top of. If you need any help creating the most effective remote work environments possible, schedule a 15 minute, no obligation call with us at www.durham-it.ca/book-a-call/.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.