4 Ways to Increase Collaboration for Your Remote Workforce

4 Ways to Increase Collaboration for Your Remote Workforce

Before the arrival of COVID-19, less than five percent of the U.S. population was working remotely full-time. A Gallup poll conducted in early April 2020 determined that over 60 percent of employed Americans worked from home during the crisis. This year, remote work became a necessity. With social distancing guidelines, government restrictions and serious concerns over a health crisis, businesses worldwide have had to adapt to the times, including allowing all non-essential employees to work from home.

Naturally, transitioning your workplace to remote capabilities at the drop of a mask has presented its challenges. Cybersecurity concerns, an isolated workforce and communication issues are a few of the most pressing issues facing businesses with teams suddenly removed from their everyday work environments. Fortunately, leveraging technology is one solution that can help mitigate many of these issues. With the right people, processes and technologies in place, your entire team can work together from anywhere in a secure, connected, flexible workspace.

Collaboration and Technology

In its most fundamental sense, collaboration is the process of motivating employees to work together toward a shared purpose to reach a collective goal. With the right resources in place and the right technology experts in your corner, you can enable more employee interaction, spark collaboration and increase productivity. Several innovative technologies are available to businesses of all sizes that can maximize workplace collaboration — even during a pandemic.

Let’s discuss four ways your business can thrive in 2020 and beyond.

1) Trust in the Cloud: According to Cisco, cloud data centers will process 94 percent of workloads in 2021. Cloud computing technology gives businesses direct access to the information they need. With workers in the office and at home, file storage applications are secure and allow employees to instantly access and share information. With more flexibility and easy remote access, your team’s productivity will go through the roof.

2) Upgrade Your Software: Cloud technologies do more than store valuable information. When you integrate the cloud with Microsoft Office 365, employees work smarter, more efficiently and improve communication. Teams have access to all their familiar applications. They can work on projects simultaneously, share worksheets in real time, and reduce overlap, miscommunication and other issues that bog down productivity levels.

3) Use Team Collaboration Tools: Microsoft Teams and Slack are two forms of team communication platforms that provide an entire team with a secure, centralized place to communicate and streamline their workflows. Employees can instant message, share files, set up virtual conference calls and collaborate on projects from anywhere. Filtering out the fluff of a traditional email system saves the workforce time and increases productivity.

4) Engage Your Team With Video: Video conferencing software like Zoom and Skype can help your team stay connected and accelerate the decision-making process compared with an email or phone call. Video conferencing tools enhance meetings with recording features, chat messaging, and screen-sharing options for visual engagement. Virtual conference rooms can be an engaging way to assemble your team during a time when they may feel isolated.

The Future of Collaboration

Although many businesses are moving to the above technologies out of necessity, they can become a constant and reliable component of any business model moving forward. Considering that flexible working has become the “new normal,” companies that continue to invest in collaborative tools that increase productivity will work seamlessly in the present day and thrive in the future. We can help your business develop a reliable and affordable IT technology infrastructure that can increase team collaboration and productivity.

Get set up for success with the best collaborative tools. Contact us today.

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Six Steps to Compliance

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Six Steps to Compliance

Six Steps to Compliance

“Most departments view legal and compliance support as key to smart growth. They want to enable the business to balance risk with reward, and to modernize their own operations through process and technology improvements. But [Gartner] found a wide gap between the importance of initiatives and leaders’ confidence in their ability to solve them.”  -Ross Gardiner, Director, Advisory, Gartner

If you’re like most busy executives, compliance is a priority — but it’s not necessarily at the top of your to-do list. Yet businesses of all sizes are governed by federal (and sometimes even international) regulations, and whether you like them or not, they’re in place for a good reason. As a business owner, it’s up to you to stay compliant and protect your precious data, but it’s a responsibility that nobody should shoulder alone.

You don’t have to be intimidated by the regulatory landscape when you’ve got technology on your side. With the right IT infrastructure in place, your company can navigate this tricky terrain while keeping everyone’s private information secure. Whether you’re running a healthcare testing facility, financial institution or a small to medium-sized business, you’re bound to face compliance challenges. From HIPAA to PCI and everything in between, compliance is simpler when you leverage technology to your advantage.

See what an industry-specific compliance plan looks like. Contact us today.

Conquer Your Compliance Checklist

  • Step One: Conduct Research
    Maintaining compliance can be intimidating if you don’t know where to begin. Figure out what regulations apply to your industry, what your current protocols are looking like and what you need to do to secure your business and safeguard your data going forward.
  • Step Two: Establish Firm Policies
    When you have to protect patient health records, credit card information and other sensitive information from data breaches, make sure your employees follow the proper procedures. Educating your workforce via security awareness training is one option.
  • Step Three: Get Technical
    Work with IT professionals to update your technology and determine what it will take to bring your business up to speed. Avoid falling into the treacherous zone of noncompliance by protecting your perimeter, including setting up firewalls and more.
  • Step Four: Encrypt Your Data
    Hackers are hoping that you adopt new technology, use the default security setting and forget about it. Take proactive measures to keep personal details regarding medical records and financial transactions safe and abide by government regulations.
  • Step Five: Protect Hardware
    When you’re conducting business virtually and making important online transactions, your data will be accessed remotely from countless devices. Mobile device management is the way to mitigate privacy concerns and stay compliant.
  • Step Six: Get an Assessment
    Once you’ve done what you can on your end to tighten up your processes and procedures, it’s time to enlist the help of professionals. A free assessment or consultation can prepare you for a compliance audit and other potential obstacles.

After going through the above checklist, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. But by putting in time and effort ahead of time, you’re giving your business the best chance of staying compliant — and staying in business. Remember, every regulation put in place is done so for a reason, and if you value your customers’ trust, do the right thing. Invest enough resources into protecting your valuable data to keep you covered no matter what comes your way.

How We Can Help

Running a business is hard enough without worrying about compliance. Let a managed services provider take some stress off your plate by setting you up with the IT solutions you need at a price you can afford. When your good name and your clients’ personal data is on the line, what could be more important? Spend more time focusing on growing your brand and less time worrying about data theft with help from a trusted managed services provider (MSP). Connect with an expert today, and take compliance off the table tomorrow.

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How to Overcome Compliance Hurdles

How to Overcome Compliance Hurdles

Running a successful business is hard work, and at the end of the day, the last thing you want to be worrying about is noncompliance. But in many industries, executives have no choice but to devote time and energy to meeting federal, and in some cases, even global regulations.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to overcome common compliance obstacles, and whether you’re dealing with HIPPA, SOX, PCI or anything else, educating yourself about these regulations is the first step. Read on to learn about the top five hurdles you should be on the lookout for as you strive to meet current regulations.

Prepare for Compliance Challenges.

Avoid These Five Common Compliance Pitfalls:

    1. Dismissing the Internet of Things: The Internet of things has the ability to both positively and negatively impact your business in unanticipated ways. With the advent of emerging technology and highly interconnected devices, nearly every industry is struggling to keep up with evolving regulations and protect transmitted data. Getting educated and working with a vCIO will ensure you’re prepared to handle all things IoT.
    2. Missing Update Notifications: Even executives “x out” of routine software update alerts, yet we all know how critical these updates and patches can be to the security of our networks and devices. Software alerts are designed to help protect your network from cyberthreats, including data breaches that can result in lapses in compliance. Don’t let something as simple as a missed update throw you off course. Optimize your software settings and train your workforce.
    3. Ignoring the BYOD Reality: Employees are using their own phones, laptops and tablets to get work done every day—and in many instances, that is actually a good thing for today’s innovative employers. But the rise of a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture means that businesses must now take additional measures to secure their networks and protect their data. Managing mobile devices with the help of IT professionals is a sure-fire way to limit your exposure in this part of modern office life.
    4. Underfunding Your IT Infrastructure: Investing in technology and IT services should be a top priority. Regardless of whether you’re a small retail shop or a large hospital, if you handle information that must be kept confidential, you need to take every precaution you can to make sure it stays that way. To meet government standards for consumer and patient privacy, you must keep up with regulations that are routinely tweaked to address evolving cyberthreats. Conforming to the latest requirements is easier when you’ve got the right IT infrastructure in place.
    5. Dismissing EDI Threats: Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) compliance is simplified when you have access to the right technology. By putting tech to work for you, it is possible to minimize stress, reduce the odds of getting costly fines and protect your good reputation without losing sleep. But it is going to require comprehensive cybersecurity services that can take on contemporary cyberthreats. While the electronic transmission of data presents unique challenges, there are secure IT solutions designed to specifically address your industry-specific concerns.

How We Can Help

Don’t lose precious time worrying about compliance on top of everything else on your to-do list. As your trusted MSP partner, we’ll set you up with everything you need to meet government regulations. Stay focused on growing your brand while we clear compliance roadblocks out of your way. Contact us today, and enjoy peace of mind tomorrow.

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Keep Everything in Check with Compliance as a Service

Keep Everything in Check with Compliance as a Service

“Across all industry segments, at least 60% of respondents reported an increase in the scope of relevant regulatory change in the past three years.” -Gartner

Businesses are required to maintain compliance with regulations that are constantly changing or risk being penalized with costly fines or worse. Not only is your reputation on the line, but you could be putting your customers’ or patients’ sensitive data at risk. These headaches can be forgotten with Compliance as a Service (CaaS), which facilitates the management of private information and keeps everything HIPAA compliant and PCI compliant. If you’re handing personal details about someone’s health or credit cards, you can protect that data and reduce stress with CaaS.

Staying compliant isn’t optional—but that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. Let us help.

Why Get Compliance as a Service?

1. To Give Your Customers the Respect They Deserve: When people trust your business with their health records, credit card numbers and more, they’re giving you something more valuable than money: Their private information. Once these details get out, they can be very hard to conceal again. Preventing data breaches should be your chief priority. Partnering with the right partner for CaaS helps you earn and maintain the trust of your customers by improving your chances of staying compliant no matter what comes your way.

2. To Identify Vulnerabilities with Regular Audits: The security of your network is directly connected to your ability to stay compliant with federal regulations, which is why CaaS includes regular audits that can spot weaknesses before they become major threats to cybersecurity. Let IT professionals periodically scan your networks and make necessary changes to protect sensitive data and help you maintain compliance with government-issued regulations.

3. To Improve the Security of Electronic Data Storage: Without a proper risk assessment and compliance services from an established IT provider, it’s impossible to know just how safe your data is and what you could be doing in terms of protecting it and staying compliant. After all, storing data electronically is a big responsibility, and doing so with an eye on security is the only way to reduce digital risk and maintain compliance. With CaaS, you’ll enjoy the benefits of improved cybersecurity right away.

4. Keep Current with Automatic Updates: Everyone is guilty of ignoring an alert about a recommended update from time to time, but neglecting to perform a critical update at the wrong time could put you at risk when it comes to staying HIPAA compliant and PCI compliant. Automatic updates are one of the best features of CaaS because periodic scans and reboots keep systems protected from hackers and thwart their latest attempts to compromise cybersecurity and leave you exposed.

As you can see, Compliance as a Service is a simple way for you to streamline processes and stay on top of the latest changes without all the stress.

We know the ins-and-outs of this important niche field and are on standby to help you comply with regulations across the board. Fortify your systems and protect customers’ and patients’ information with CaaS, an essential line of defense. Contact us today to get started.

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4 Steps to Disaster Recovery

4 Steps to Disaster Recovery

In the wake of COVID-19 – an unprecedented situation – businesses have begun to realize the importance of planning for the unpredicted. A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is the best place to start because it ensures you’ll have access to everything you need to continue to conduct business in the event that something happens. But where do you begin, and what do you need to do to get started? We’ve pulled together four necessary steps to disaster recovery. Read on to learn more.

Protecting your business starts with a plan. We’ll help you develop yours – contact us today.

Plan for Any Scenario

Disasters come in many forms – human error, fires, floods, hacking attacks and more. Each one is very different. The impact of a deleted file versus a cybercriminal holding your data for ransom are two totally different outcomes – but you have to be prepared for both. Your disaster recovery plan should cover every possible scenario that could impact your business along with the best way to react and respond to those disasters.

Get the Right People in the Right Place

Who will your employees look to when a disaster happens? Who will jump into action to implement your DRP? Who will communicate with your customers and investors of the situation? These are the people who will ensure your DRP goes off without a hitch and ensure execution of every aspect of the plan. Once you know who these people are, make sure to include them in creating the DRP. This way, they’ll fully understand their role and what’s expected of them during what can be a very hectic time.

Test and Update Your Plan Regularly

Testing your disaster recovery plan doesn’t only give you confidence that it’ll work, but it will also help you find any weaknesses or gaps that could potentially pop up. With this information, you’ll be able to equip your business – and your people – better if a disaster impacts your business. Plus, understanding all possibilities and knowing you have your bases covered for any scenario will give you the ultimate peace of mind.

Keep Your Plan Safe and Available

Your disaster recovery plan isn’t just something your business talks about – it should be formally documented. We highly recommend having a physical copy in case something ever happens to your servers, and you’re unable to access the document. Also, the last thing you would want is having your people search around the business premises for your plan, so make sure you keep a copy in a safe but accessible location.

A thorough disaster recovery plan covers all aspects of your business, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, please know that we’re here to help. We can help you with everything from conception to deployment and monitoring to stepping into action when an unexpected event occurs. Contact us – we’re here for you.

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Four Data Backup Strategies to Use During the COVID-19 Crisis

Four Data Backup Strategies to Use During the COVID-19 Crisis

In times like these, you have enough to worry about in the real world—so it’s understandable if you have not been giving much thought to whether your organization has the proper data backup protocols in place. Businesses need to continually refine the ways they store and back up data, and now is the perfect time to do it. With daily operations interrupted in a way we’ve never seen before, you need to know how to keep your organization’s data and devices protected while your workforce goes remote. Even if you think your company has a solid plan, reviewing some simple data backup essentials now can help you avoid losing critical information both during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

Don’t face the task of backing up your data alone. Contact us today.

1. Start Backing Up Everything Now

These days, it can feel like you’ve lost out on a lot of things you usually enjoy, from chatting with colleagues at work to seeing friends on the weekends. When you do have free time, the last thing you want to do is sit around thinking about how to back up critical business files. Yet there’s no worse feeling than realizing—too late, of course—that a backup system you thought you had in place had failed and was not storing and updating your valuable data remotely after all. The only thing more terrible than losing data right now would be losing the time it takes to retrieve it. Restoring your good reputation could be even harder. Why risk it? Back up everything to the cloud now if you haven’t already.

2. Review Your Default Automatic Backup Settings

If we were to have a quick chat about your automatic data backup settings, would you be able to talk specifics without much hesitation—or would you be feeling a little embarrassed that you hadn’t conducted a more thorough investigation and set things up properly? Fortunately, adjusting the default settings for off-site and remote data backups is an easy way to guarantee that your automatic data backups are running in the background as often as they need to be.

3. Protect Sensitive Information

In addition to worrying about the health of your employees and their financial well-being, you’re now tasked with an additional set of concerns when it comes to managing a remote workforce: Keeping data secure even in the event of a loss or theft. With so many people working from home, backing up your data the right way has never been more important. It’s not enough to make sure everything is stored off-site or in the cloud. It’s time to make sure you’re working with state-of-the-art encryption programs that will keep your sensitive information safe from prying eyes.

4. Prevent Data Loss in the Future

Being able to operate virtually is vital during times like these, but when your employees are working from home, they might start using additional devices to get things done. The internet might go down while they are in the middle of a big project—and if it has been long enough since everything was saved, some critical work could be lost, resulting in significant downtime for your business. Anticipate future problems by upgrading your data backup strategies now.

Conducting business during COVID-19 presents unique challenges that you and your colleagues might not have anticipated. If you have doubts about the security and reliability of your current data backup system, it’s time to bring in the experts. As a managed services provider, we can help you back up your data and prevent it from being lost—or even worse—from getting into the wrong hands. Contact us today to learn about our essential data backup solutions.

Latest Blogs

Six Steps to Compliance

Six Steps to Compliance

“Most departments view legal and compliance support as key to smart growth. They want to enable the business to balance risk with reward, and to modernize their own operations through process and...

How to Overcome Compliance Hurdles

How to Overcome Compliance Hurdles

Running a successful business is hard work, and at the end of the day, the last thing you want to be worrying about is noncompliance. But in many industries, executives have no choice but to devote...