Monthly Archives: September 2020

Data Security Tips for Switching Your Team to VoIP

Here’s how to ensure the safety and security of your data while using VoIP.

With every new great technology comes new levels of data security. Just as you upgraded your data security for your latest website update, for your cloud document manager, and your enterprise management software, so too will you need new data security measures when you upgrade the team to VoIP. VoIP, like any cloud system, has a few distinct points that hackers will try to attack.

Hackers will seek to crack someone’s login so they can start using your service and burning up your talk hours for free. They will try to hack into host devices so they can steal any personal data that is stored as a result of calls and communications. And they will try to use your need for Wi-Fi to set honeypot traps and hack connected devices.

The following five tips will help you prevent these hacks quite neatly with each workstation and device your employees use to connect their VoIP numbers.

1) Use Firewalls and Data Encryption on Every VoIP Device

Always, always, always start with firewalls and data encryption. No doubt, you already have firewalls and whole-device encryption on your business workstations, but now it’s time to expand that protection to employee mobile devices as well. Any device your team wants to use for VOIP should be reinforced at the same time that the app is installed. In emergencies, it should be okay to temporarily connect to the VOIP system via an unsecured device, but it will also be important to log out and wipe the install when the emergency is over.

2) Configure Auto-Logout at Workstations

Auto-logout ensures that no one remains logged into their VOIP number and company services after they have left the desk. For your workstations, it’s practical to assume specific times at which employees will be finished with their VOIP use and it is safe to auto-logout with the risk of bouncing a client call to email.

Start by encouraging employees to log out whenever they walk away from the desk. Beyond that, allows configuration for timed auto-logout which you can align with the end of each work shift. For employees who answer a service line, you can even disengage logins as soon as ‘business hours’ are through.

3) Screen Lock for Active VOIP Mobile Devices

Of course, employees using their mobile devices are a little more challenging to defend with auto-logout. Idle won’t work because they may be waiting for calls, and timing only works if their planned mobile work aligns with a predicted schedule.

So with mobile devices, you have two security options. Your first is screen lock. Screen lock is a professional’s best defense when they need to stay constantly logged into a secure app all the time. The second option is to invite your employees to set their own auto-logout times. This can be effective for both security and defending a healthy work-life balance.

4) Coach Employees on Building Secure Passwords and Protecting Those Passwords

Passwords are of utmost importance with VOIP, because they are the key to each universally available phone number. All the accessibility, all the versatility that VOIP offers, is exposed if their password is stolen. The last thing you want is for hackers to gain the ability to log into your VOIP network from anywhere just like an employee.

Train your employees to build strong passwords and to protect them. Not to write them down, not to email the passwords to themselves, and definitely not to load them into unsecure password management apps.

5) Provide Wifi Hotspots to Avoid Honeypot Wifi Traps

Finally, provide any employees who connect away from home or the office with a wifi hotspot. Hackers like to set up fake wifi networks pretending to be guest wifi from shops and restaurants that don’t have wifi. When people unwittingly connect to check their messages (or when phones automatically connect to the nearest network) they can be hacked through the honeypot fake network.

Securing your employees with their new VOIP numbers isn’t difficult, but a few steps are incredibly useful for keeping hackers off your network. Contact us today for more expert cybersecurity advice!

What Can an MSP Do for Your Remote Work Team?

In complicated times, using a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can keep your remote team running smoothly.

Managed Service Providers, or MSPs for short, are dedicated network and computer technicians that outsource their services to many different companies. In a world where we know there are not enough tech professionals to go around, outsourcing those services is the best way to ensure every small to medium business gets the technical support they need. This remains true in the wake of current events, leaving even the most hands-on teams now working from home in home offices.

Remote work is not a new concept, but it can be logistically challenging for teams who are not prepared for the transition. That is where a skilled MSP can help you. The transition to remote work and enhancing your remote productivity is all about the tech stack. A managed service provider can provide remote support of exactly the nature your business needs to thrive on remote work.

Here’s what an MSP can do for your remote working team:

Advise the Best Remote Team Tech Stack

Your tech stack is the core of teamwork and productivity. Transitioning to remote work, you’ll need a remote-friendly stack of business software. These programs will need to mimic or even just extend your on-site workflow and connect  your team members so they can work together from far-flung locations. The best tech stack will need to be fully integrated, and your MSP can make sure you make the right choices for your business.

Build and Secure Your Remote Work Resources

Secure remote resources are a must. You need cloud servers, document management, collaboration tools, plus many more.  But you also need data security to ensure that customer, staff, and business information is not leaked to nosy hackers along the way. This work-at-home jag has been a holiday for hackers who like to exploit the new security gaps between team members working remotely. We can help close those security gaps and defend your remotely accessible work resources.

Provide Support for Home Office Setups

Setting up a home office is not always easy. Not everyone has the right equipment, installation, or internet plan to thrive. As an MSP, we can help walk each team member through the most important steps of setting up their home office. From there, we’ll also provide support for any specific questions or problems. From home video studios to configuring the firewall, we have each individual covered.

Coordinate Company Devices and Data Plans

Many employers are sending out company devices and offering comped or subsidized internet plans for employees working from home. Your managed service provider can make sure each of these devices has the right installation and setup, even before it is shipped to the team members. We can then walk team members through setting up their new company devices and accessing their provided internet plans.

Create a New Backup Recovery System

Last but not least is backup recovery. When your entire business infrastructure moves to the cloud and your team goes remote, there’s a good chance you will need new data backup management to ensure that the new remote infrastructure can be recovered quickly. We have this under control Once your new tech stack and workflow is established, an MSP can build you a backup recover plan to reflect your business needs and the technology in use.

Hiring an MPS is a great choice for any small to medium business adapting to the new remote workflow with work-at-home conditions. We would be proud to provide the technical guidance and support your business needs to make this transition. Contact us today to consult on managed services for your company’s IT needs and the needs of your remote team members.

The Role of Telecom Businesses During a Crisis

telecom, telecommunications, remote, communications, technology

Telecommunication systems keep us connected when we need it most.

The one thing we know about people today is that when disaster strikes, we get on the phone. Communication has always been a critical part of handling a crisis. The bigger the crisis, the more communication is needed to cover the gaps in society crated by strife. Right now, the telecommunications industry is under a tremendous amount of pressure while holding up an incredible responsibility.

Telecommunications serve a vital role in times of crisis. In fact, they serve several vital roles:

Emergency Relief Coordination

The fist and most important thing telecommunications provides is emergency relief. With the communication network up, first-responders can stay in-touch, coordinate, deliver emergency services wherever they are needed. From fire trucks and ambulances to donated food, no matter the crisis, telecommunications are what brings the first-responders and relief teams together.

Helping Those Stranded to Reach Out for Aid

Telecommunications are also essential in connecting individuals in times of crisis. People who are trapped at home or even stranded in the wilderness can access the telecommunications network to reach out for help. Those quarantined in their homes, trapped in a structure, or lost away from home rely on telecommunications to connect them to much-needed help.

Spreading Vital Information to the Population

Depending on the crisis, it may be necessary to send out important safety information to the population at large. Through internet, television, radio, and phone calls, the organizations in charge can inform the citizens of what’s to come and how to stay safe. During earthquakes, these broadcasts are advice on how to take shelter. During the current pandemic, telecommunications have been essential in helping the masses determine how to stay safe and reduce infection spread.

Providing Digital Connection to Inaccessible Regions

Telecommunications can also go where vehicles can’t. If an area has been cut-off due to damage or bad weather on the road, often cell signal and buried communication lines can still make it out. Snowed-in towns, areas damaged by earthquakes, and islands isolated by rough seas can all stay in touch through telecommunications when they couldn’t be reached any other way.

Connecting Individuals To Each other

During a crisis, people tend to pull together. Families lean on each other and whole new communities form in response to facing the hardship together. While this can happen in neighbourhoods, recent events and cultural trends make telecommunications a central part of this banding-together. In the face of a crisis, people turn to social media and phone calls to provide each other support.

Maintaining Networks to Keep Businesses Open

However, telecommunication’s role in business is even more vital. Businesses today rely on the internet heavily to do their work and stay connected to customers. Some businesses are completely shut down without access to the telecommunications network, which is best evidenced in how well business is continuing with wireless internet, sans office environment. The telecommunications network is all that’s holding up many economies and everyday survival services during pandemic conditions.

Providing Swift Repairs Where Service Fails

Finally, the telecommunication industry’s role in keeping the network alive is absolutely essential. People, communities, and services need to stay connected. If one neighborhood’s service goes down, this affects hundreds to thousands of people. The impact is multiplied by how reliant our society truly is on internet and phone lines. So when a line breaks, it is telecom’s role to swiftly fix it before the cut-off has too negative an effect.

Telecommunications is, arguably, the most important single industry in crisis response because it allows response to happen. Through telecommunication, victims can reach out for help and emergency services can coordinate rescue. Communities can band together and businesses can keep the wheels of industry rolling. For more business tech and direction insights, contact us today!

Do You Have An Effective And Valuable IT Help Desk?

Your IT help desk is more essential than ever for your company to run smoothly.

It is almost time for the office to close on a Friday. Your boss is expecting to receive a report from you. You attempt to print the report, but nothing happens when you hit the print button. You decide to call your help desk, but no one answers the call. How are you supposed to receive help from the help desk when no one is available to help you?

You are already having problems that are stressing you out. You do not need any added pressures, nor do you need any excuses about why someone cannot help you with your problem. Thankfully, this does not have to keep happening. IT Help Desk support is available to help you. There are a few traits that can make an excellent help desk.

Attention To Customer Service

Everyone does not have the ability to be a part of an IT Help Desk. An IT Help Desk team should consist of a professional and experienced engineer. The IT Help Desk engineer will need to work at a fast pace, but every call should be treated with attention and care so the caller will feel important.

Callers should understand the words members of the IT Help Desk team are using. Callers should have a clear understanding of what to expect in terms of a response and a resolution. If a caller has a simple request, the caller should be able to have their problem resolved while they are on the phone or participating in a chat conversation.

The IT Help Desk Process

An effective IT help desk will have the proper processes in place to handle any type of process. No one wants to hear that a member of the IT help desk team will have to contact you later because he or she has to check something. No caller wants to hear that a member of the help desk team has never seen a particular problem before.

An effective IT Help Desk system will be able to diagnose and dispatch any issue to the appropriate person so callers will have a fast resolution. An IT Help Desk that is efficient and effective will be able to create a report on how long it takes to begin working on a request once the request has been submitted. A report should also be made about how long it takes to resolve the problem.

There will be issues that will require higher abilities and knowledge and those issues should have their own processes. If the service desk is closed, who should be contacted after hours? The IT Help Desk should be as efficient and effective as possible at all times.

IT Help Desk Tools

Before an IT Help Desk service engineer can understand how to use the equipment, tools, and software that is needed to fully support your infrastructure, engineers and members of the IT Help Desk team will need to be available. If you want to have an effective IT Help Desk, you will need to make sure you have the right tools and resources in place.

Some of the tools you will need to have an effective IT Help Desk include the following:

  • A comprehensive database that is used to host company and customer information
  • A ticketing system that can be used to create service tickets
  • An automated system that can actively monitor the servers and infrastructure

The tools you need are designed to save you time so you can place more attention on improving your business operations. The tools and resources you use should not hinder your process. If you want to have a valuable business or organization, you need to have a valuable IT Help Desk. Does your IT Help Desk have all the right moving parts?

Contact us today for more information on how to have an effective IT Help Desk.