Category Archives: Manage Service

What Should Your Employees Do Before Contacting the IT Help Desk?

Worried Man At Computer With System Failure Screen At The Workplace Before Contacting the IT Help Desk

Ever wonder what steps you could take before calling the helpdesk?

Your company’s employee-facing IT help desk was built so that team members can reach out for technical help whenever they need it. The IT support staff is there to help with networking errors, to make the company software work, and to make sure customers get the automated service they need through the company technology. They are there to make the computers and devices work correctly, to defend against active and passive hacker attacks, and to offer solutions to situations so complicated that your team hardly knows how to describe what’s gone wrong.

But there are also a few things that every computer-using professional can do before calling IT that can provide the solution so much faster than clocking and solving a ticket. IT help desk professionals are happy to help when their expertise is needed, but they often wind up reciting the basic troubleshooting steps instead of solving fun and challenging problems.

So today, we’re here to offer your team a few of those basic troubleshooting steps you can take before clocking a ticket. And if these techniques don’t produce a solution then, by all means, make that call or open that chat window to present your IT team with another interesting internal network challenge.

Reload the Software

Software glitches for a lot of different reasons. Full caches, computer resources, an over-logging error; these things can crash or slow down  your business software but they’re not necessarily things that IT can fix any easier than you can. What your IT help desk would say first is to reload the software. Hit refresh. Close the program and re-open it anew. Log out and back in again. And if that doesn’t solve the problem, feel free to get in touch with IT to see if there’s something else that can be done.

Reboot the Computer or Device

Is your entire computer moving slow, acting up, or glitching in a particularly annoying way? Again, there are too many reasons for hardware misbehavior to enumerate in a single paragraph or even a single dedicated whitepaper. But a lot of them can be solved with a simple reboot. Whether the issue was too much stacked software, background programs, or something that went wrong in the firmware that needs to be reset, rebooting pretty often provides the solution. But if the situation repeats itself within a few minutes of rebooting or seems to happen frequently, it’s time to reach out to your IT help desk for more in-depth answers.

Try Toggling the Relevant Settings

Check the settings. Whatever you’re having trouble with, check the user-accessible settings. Don’t worry about delving deep, but whatever settings you can reach, try toggling them back and forth to see if you can get a different or improved response. It might be that your software isn’t quite configured correctly or you just need to trigger another type of reset. Switch your Wifi off and back on again, switch sharing off and on, or switch your monitor from extended to duplicated to extended again. Yes, it really does work sometimes. Surprisingly often.

Check the Easily-Available Troubleshooting Guides

If your IT team has gone through the trouble of writing up troubleshooting guides for common problems, do them the favor of at least skimming the IT help section available to you. These guides are often written specifically because dozens to hundreds of tickets for the exact same problem have been submitted and IT has deemed that the troubleshooting process is easy enough for a non-IT professional to tackle on their own.

If you can’t find a guide or if your company doesn’t have internal IT help guides, then of course reach out to your IT team for personalized guidance instead.

Ask the IT Chatbot

Finally, if your IT help desk has cleverly set up a chatbot to answer frequently asked troubleshooting questions, take a moment to engage. Chatbots are getting pretty darn smart (and programmable) these days so if there’s an IT bot available, it might just have the answers. It’s not only worth your while to take this semi-automated DIY troubleshooting guide, it’s also an awesome story to tell to colleagues and friends that you got IT help from an actual virtual intelligence.

If and when all else fails, be sure to clock your troubles as a ticket and describe the steps you’ve already taken independently so your IT help desk team can jump right in to help you find the true cause and solution. For more interesting, useful, and actionable insights about IT help desks for your business, contact us today!

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Machine Learning

Hands of robot and human touching on a virtual network connection interface. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and machine learning concept

Partnering with your managed service provider is key to setting your business up for success.

There are so many IT innovations and trends that are being introduced and followed, and many of them are catching the attention and imagination of Managed Service Providers(MSPs). One of the advances that is capturing the attention of Managed Service Providers is machine learning due to its ability to automate a variety of processes and operations at different levels.

When machine learning is used in business, it can significantly help businesses enhance their overall scalability and improve their overall business operations. Machine learning and other artificial intelligence tools have continued to grow in popularity in the business analytics industry. Machine learning has also seen a growth in popularity due to several factors, including the following:

  • easy access to data
  • faster computational processes
  • an increased volume of data
  • more access to affordable data storage

As a result of these factors and the popularity of machine learning, businesses can now use machine learning and implement it into their business strategy. Machine learning can help your business or organization extract vital information from a large set of raw data. If you are able to implement machine learning the right way, it will be an overall better solution to many of the challenges and problems your business may have, and you may also be able to predict some of the challenging behaviors your customers may have.

There are several ways machine learning can help your business, including the following:

Predictive Maintenance

Many businesses and organizations follow preventive maintenance strategies and practices, and these are often rather costly and ineffective. However, with the arrival of machine learning, companies and organizations in the manufacturing industry can use machine learning to locate relevant insight and connections in their factory data. This can help reduce any chance of risks that may be associated with unforeseen mistakes or failures. Machine Learning construction or planning can be created using the following:

  • historical data
  • visualization tools
  • analysis environment

Recognizing Spam/Malware

Did you know that machine learning can be used to detect spam? It has actually been used to detect spam for a significant amount of time now. In the past, email service providers have used various filters and tools to remove spam. Today, there are different rules and guidelines that need to be followed as far as spam filtering. Neutral networks are now being used to locate spam, malware, phishing, etc.

Enhancing Cyber Security

In addition to recognizing spam and malware, cyber security can also be used to increase security in a business or organization to a greater extent. Machine learning will allow providers to create better and newer technologies. These technologies can be used to detect hidden threats.

Picture Recognition

Face recognition or image recognition has the ability to produce various types of information from the images that have been captured and the data that has been captured. Image recognition involves a variety of things, including the following:

  • pattern recognition
  • data mining

Image recognition through machine learning is a vital asset and it has been used by companies and organizations across multiple industries.

Enhancing Customer Experience

Machine learning can play a huge role in enhancing the customer service experience by increasing the number of satisfied customers. Machine learning can be used to obtain previous email records, call records, etc. Machine learning can also be used to analyze the behaviors of customers. As a result, customers will be assigned to the customer service representative or executive that fits the customer’s needs. This can significantly reduce financial costs and the amount of time that it takes to effectively manage a relationship with customers.

Are you currently using machine learning in your business or organization? If you are planning to implement machine learning in the future, what do you hope to achieve through machine learning? Machine learning is growing at a fast pace and it is currently being driven by new technologies.

Managed Service Providers continue to look for bigger and better solutions to the problems that customers have. Not only are they looking for new resources and technologies, but they are also looking for services that can help them overcome the challenges and obstacles they are facing across various industries. There is a strong belief that MSPs can have greater success by adopting new security solutions that use machine learning and other capabilities.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us today for more information on machine learning and how it is being used by Managed Service Providers.

10 IoT Implementation and Management Tips for Businesses – Part 2

Manager Technician Industrial Engineer working and control robotics with monitoring system software and icon industry network connection on tablet. IoT Implementation and Management Tips for Businesses, AI, Artificial Intelligence, Automation robot arm machine in smart factory on blue digital background

IoT Implementation and Management Tips for Businesses

Welcome back to the second half of our article about integrating new IoT technology into your business network. Last time, we covered the basics of IoT in the office including how to choose your hub and set up your first routines. Today, we’re here to discuss how to secure your IoT so your business network is safe while these devices communicate constantly with the internet. Join us as we pick up where we left off.

Secure IoT Setup

Your next concern, after deciding the hub and devices you want to start with, is to make sure your IoT network is secure. IoT devices are notorious targets for hacking. Some older models are very poorly designed for defense and even modern business IoT devices with good security are still under-secured by the companies that implement them. Here’s how to properly secure your IoT:

5. Create a Separate Wifi Network for IoT Devices

First, create a completely separate wifi network for all IoT devices. Not a spin-off or a subnetwork, but completely security-separate. This way, if even one IoT device is hacked, it cannot possibly provide the hacker with access to your internal business network. A separate wifi network is your first and last line of defense. Hackers (and their malware) will not be able to reach your employee workstations, your servers, or customer data because they will find nothing but other IoT devices if the IoT network is hacked.

6. Rock-Solid Firewalls and Virus Detection Software

Along the same lines, equip that separate network with the strongest firewalls and virus detection software available to you. Be sure to take the time and customize the settings on the firewall to be sure that only IoT activity is allowed through. This is another line of defense that will keep your IoT devices safe from opportunistic hackers. If it’s too difficult to access your network, hackers will generally seek greener pastures.

7. Change Default Login Credentials for Each Device

Finally, be sure to change the admin login credentials for every single IoT device you integrate. Many devices don’t make this easy or offer to help you change these credentials, so many IoT devices are still accessible through their factory-set credentials. Hackers then learn what the default credentials are which can grant them direct access to any IoT device that has not been secured.

 

Improving IoT Performance

With everything else secured, you may want to put some thought into improving the performance of your IoT Devices.

8. Check Wifi Strength in Device Locations

One of the problems businesses have had in the past with IoT is weak wifi signal. IoT devices like lightbulbs and security cameras are sometimes placed high up and away from where employees use the wifi on a regular basis. Your wifi signal may have trouble reaching the locations where you want to put them.

One way to help your office is to check the signal strength of each location before you place the device. Signal boosters and repeaters may extend the wifi range so that you can have more far-flung IoT devices.

9. Prioritize Security and Streaming Bandwidth Use

IoT functions are sometimes demanding in wifi bandwidth, but some functions are more important than others. Work with your network admin to prioritize the security, communication, and streaming bandwidth use while de-prioritizing less important functions and features that can wait their turn for bandwidth.

10. Integrate Mobile Control

Voice control is the primary focus of IoT smart devices, but mobile control should not be underestimated. The ability to control your business IoT devices through manager and employee mobile devices is incredibly powerful. Devices can be controlled or communicated with by someone out of the office, by any employee inside the office, or with greater precision using the right mobile app. Consider mobile control integration potential for your business when optimizing your company IoT.

IoT is the future of business technology, but integrating it with your business naturally requires some amount of effort and care. With the help of skilled IT professionals, you can quickly have your business IoT plan in place, secure, and ready to use. Contact us today to find out more about the best implementation strategies for IoT in your business.

10 IoT Implementation and Management Tips for Businesses – Part 1

Business woman hand using smartphone with IoT implementaion via multi-channel communication network on mobile application

Implementing IoT in the Office does it have a place in the office?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a trendy term for an incredibly useful new type of device: Smart devices. Devices that respond to Wi-Fi commands through web portals and mobile device. And they have an undeniable place in the modern office. The uses for IoT range from turning off an entire floor of lights with a word to remotely managing building security. With specialized business IoT devices, your office can likely do even more than the basic applications that have been imagined. Particularly if IoT is combined with “Smart Home” voice hub technology.

This article will outline the top tips for implementing and managing a network of IoT devices in your business.

 

Implementing IoT in the Office

Bringing IoT into the office starts with your choice of IoT technology.

1. Choose Your Hub

The first step is to choose the smart hub you want to use. While you can manage your IoT devices through individual portals and apps, the most complete and useful experience comes from something only offered by a hub that can use ‘skills’ to manipulate all of your IoT devices on command without worrying about which brand made them or which app controls them.

Alexa is winning the race for Smart Home hubs, and more devices respond to Alexa than other hubs. However, Microsoft is quickly dominating the market for a business IoT hub through Azure. The important thing is that you choose a hub that works with the devices you want to use and interacts in a way that works for your business.

Whatever hub you choose, you’ll need to place a hub speaker anywhere you want commands to be heard.

2. Start with Smart Lights

If your business is new to IoT, the best place to start is smart lights. It is cool to turn one light on and off with a voice command, without walking to the switch. It’s an efficiency miracle to turn on or off an entire floor of lights without running from switch to switch. Smart lights can improve your energy efficiency and save loads of time for anyone who opens or closes each day. Not to mention the ability to control brightness and the occasional use of party colors.

3. Create Helpful Routines Anyone Can Use

An IoT routine is a group of device commands enacted by a single trigger. For example, you can set every single light on a routine and turn them off by saying “Turn Off All Lights” or you can separate the routines floor by floor with commands like “Turn On Finance Lights”. Of course, routines can do much more than that. You could, for example, set up a routine called “Good Morning Office” that turns on the lights, starts the smart coffee pot brewing, warms up the printer, and unlocks the smart lock on the front door as well.

Be sure to create a few routines that everyone in the office can use on command, like lights or coffee pot controls, to make your office more responsive and intuitive overall.

4. Specialty Routines for Business Purposes

You will also likely want a few specialty routines known only to the teams meant to use them. IoT security, for example, does not need publicly available routines but the security team may be able to do some interesting and useful tasks with voice-command cameras and other IoT Security devices.

Of course, installing IoT in your office is only the first half of the process. As any IT security professional can tell you, the cost for all that accessibility is an increased cybersecurity risk. Fortunately, IoT can easily be secured by following the right separation and recovery steps which we’ll be covering in the second half of this article. Join us next time for part two where we’ll talk about how to ensure your new IoT gadgets are not a security risk for your internal business network. Contact us today to find out more about adding IoT functionality to your business!