Where exactly society will land on the ratio of employees working in a centralized office to those working from home is yet to be determined. But regardless of what that dynamic looks like a few years now, it’s worlds away from what it was just a few years ago.
A version of the following article ran in the August 10 edition of the Hartford Business Journal under the headline "What part of your pandemic business should you keep?" As your organization scrambled to adjust to COVID-19, you may have implemented temporary solutions that could continue to be of value to the business going forward. With restrictions lifting, companies can pause to identify any positives that came out of this experience that may lower expenses or boost revenues on a long-term basis. In doing so, it’s also important to assess if your business may have gotten by with technology practices in the short term that could pose cybersecurity risks if left in place permanently.
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Remote collaboration is more important now than it has ever been. Businesses are searching out and identifying the best ways to empower their employees to stay connected from wherever they’re working. Microsoft Teams aims to meet that need by offering a single productivity and collaboration platform that allows you to video message or make/schedule video conference calls, instant message, file share, and collaborate on file editing in real time. You can check out my previous article on Microsoft Teams for more information about its capabilities and ways it could potentially benefit your organization. As an IT managed service provider (MSP) in Connecticut, we’ve seen an increased interest in Teams both internally and with our clients which is why I wanted to show you around the Microsoft Teams interface. Whether you’re just starting to use Teams or want to see what the interface is like before you consider it, this video and article below will show you what you or your end users would see as well as a quick run through of the tabs and features in the product.
Video chat meetings are now part of daily operations for so many businesses. When the coronavirus quarantine period started, video conferencing was a bit of a fun novelty. Colleagues who had never tried Zoom were now using it multiple times a day. Sadly, it didn’t take hackers long to realize they could exploit the popularity of video chat platforms to commit cybercrimes. Zoom in particular has experienced so many security issues that many organizations, including school districts in NYC, have banned it. While there are certainly more secure platforms, I use Zoom every day. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Kelser has advised our clients on how to use Zoom and set it up for them. Recently, I was a guest on FOX 61 Morning News to discuss cybersecurity best practices for Zoom.
As I’ve been working remotely for the past several weeks, I started thinking about all the different software that’s replaced our typical office interactions. The conference room has been replaced by video conferencing software like Zoom. Popping over the cubicle wall to talk has now become instant messaging like Slack. Email and phone are basically the same – especially if you have a soft phone or VoIP capability. File sharing and collaboration is also, depending on what you had setup previously, mostly the same with software like Dropbox or your traditional file servers accessed through a VPN. But what all this software doesn’t replace is the platform to have all these interactions happen and interact with one another. Previously that was the office itself.
It seems like overnight most of us joined the remote workforce. Even for companies that already have the infrastructure in place to handle a situation like this, it has made for the ultimate stress test. For other businesses, it’s been a wake-up call as many now find themselves building the proverbial boat as they’re floating down the river. As we continue into the new temporary reality of long-term remote work and social distancing, I’ve been thinking a lot about the security considerations of working from home versus working in the office.
I recently had the chance to help Reader’s Digest update an article titled “11 Things IT Professionals Don’t Want You To Know”. It’s no secret that IT is a little misunderstood. Part of our mission at Kelser is to connect IT strategy to the overall business strategy of our clients. When integrated into the company as a whole, IT can be a major business enabler, helping achieve goals across the business. It starts with viewing IT as more than fixing things when they break.
Voice over IP, or VoIP, has come a long way. Where once the call quality of a landline couldn’t be beat and voice communication over the internet was unreliable, companies can now run their entire voice communication system seamlessly through their internet connection and computers. The headsets and phones even look and function the same. VoIP is a very hot topic in the business world as companies evaluate if traditional phone lines continue to make sense for them or if one of the many VoIP options in the marketplace could save money, improve efficiency, or add useful features. This is something the team at Kelser routinely helps our clients navigate and implement. In fact, we even help the media provide information to the business community about VoIP.