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Remote Working – Technology Perspective

Avatar On: March, 29th 2020 | Under: Cloud, communications, General, Technology & Tools


COVID-19 has changed the way we work now and into the future, the Remote worker is here to stay. What does this mean for businesses from a technology viewpoint?

The key question for a business is how to use technology effectively to ensure that their business has a productive workforce with minimal disruption from technology blips.

Strategically it means a business needs to focus on the deploying the right technologies to support the worker and the functions they undertake.

3 Key Elements

What are the 3 key elements to ensuring your workforce can continue working remotely?  The starting issue is ensuring Connectivity. Without connectivity you cannot work remotely. The second element Communication is about ensuring everybody stays in contact and has capacity to engage with each other and clients. The final element of Collaboration is the ability to work together on the same documents, having access to files etc. in a secure environment

Office 365 – enables Collaboration

To enable collaboration across the team requires having the right software platform.

Software options such as Microsoft Office 365 or Googles G Suite are cloud solutions at the core of enabling businesses to communicate, access documents, collaborate with co- workers by sharing files, storing files, combined with an integrated email.

These technologies have a high adoption but there are many businesses yet to understand the benefits of adopting these cloud-based programs. A workforce working remotely from home is distributed far and wide, one benefit of Office 365 is the comfort that everybody will be using the same version of the software.

A secondary advantage is that the fee is monthly charged by number of users which means you only pay for what you are using. This allows businesses to scale up and down as required. This provides businesses greater flexibility and control over its cash flow. You are not paying for something that is not being used.

Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoTo meeting – enable Communication

Many choices are available for conducting virtual meetings each has its own specific benefits. The key goal is to select and deploy the platform and then provide people with the guidance on how to run effective virtual meetings.

This technology also enables your team members to conduct informal meetings more of a social interaction. Alternatively, they can use their normal social media tools such as What’s app, Facebook Messenger etc. to create a sense of social connection.

The communication solution needs to cover voice and email solutions. Having a virtual PABX solution hosted in the Cloud can ensure that phone calls can be directed to the right people inside the business. The email solution is part Office 365 which includes capacity to share and store files using One drive and SharePoint.

Just putting the technology in place does not necessarily guarantee success there is a need to build culture and create understanding between team members. A suggestion is to create some tasks/projects that need completing by a team using the above tools within a common framework.

Connectivity – Remote Connections, Security, Support

The last element connectivity means having an internet connection for the worker to access the software and tools, so they can perform their work. It is as basic as that. However, the internet connection needs to be stable and quick enough for workers to complete tasks.

This means considerations such as bandwidth and upload/download speeds. It may mean a business upgrading/switching the internet plans of their workers to ensure they can operate effectively.  Wi-Fi is so predominant today there may be a need check the configuration make changes such as adding Wi-Fi boosters to ensure stable and reliable performance across a home environment.

With connectivity comes some clear concerns for a business owner, such as how secure is it in terms of being hacked, backing up data and email security. These questions raise the question of what type of support is required to support a remote worker?

With home workers it is very important that a business ensures they have proactive management of their equipment and networks. What does this mean? Simply put don’t run the risk of anything breaking by ensuring you have your IT person/provider constantly monitoring and maintaining each workers environment.

This means ensuring all devices are regularly updated with the latest versions of the software (patch management) ensuring that all security elements are operating, and functional, ensuing data is backed up correctly in accordance with your policies. That passwords are managed and updated regularly, that user access is managed correctly as people come and go from the business and the list goes on. This is called Managed Services

In addition to Managed Services It is essential that employees can call someone if something unexpected happens (like a disc failure, network connection failure, etc.) that is support.  The first step for your provider in the current environment will be to complete the diagnosis remotely using a tool such as TeamViewer or LogMeIn.

These tools give your IT support person secure, full control and access to your employee’s equipment. Its efficient and fast and means minimal disruption. If the problem cannot be fixed remotely then an onsite visit will take place. Note the IT provider must adhere to all COVID-19 social distancing and sanitisation requirements.

Finally, consider the option of a VPN (Virtual private network) which ensures your communication is encrypted and protected from prying eyes.

This article is not exhaustive, but it explains why it is essential to work with an experienced IT group such as Computer Troubleshooters.

With a national network of location’s, across Australia no matter where your team is located, we can support them to ensure they maintain their productivity while working from home.

Call 1300 28 28 78 and locate your nearest local technician or visit: www.computertroubleshooters.com.au/locations

NBN and VoIP Be Ready

Avatar On: March, 2nd 2020 | Under: Office 365


NBN and VoIP Be Ready

As the nbn is rolled out many people are asking do I need to do anything? Do I need to switch to the nbn? Will I need to update my phone system etc. The fact is that as the rollout reaches your area every business needs to be ready to switch to the nbn.

Why?

Because it has been mandated that the following services will be terminated: Home/Landline services from Telstra and other providers, internet services that are ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+ and cable services from Bigpond and Optus.

How do you know and how long do you have to migrate?

From the moment your area is declared as nbn ready then you have 18 months to make the switch.  You can check if your location is nbn ready here.

When your location is ready it is a great opportunity to assess new technology options such as VoIP. (Voice over the Internet Protocol). Some people are concerned with using internet-based phone systems due to the low sound quality and unreliability. Thanks to the NBN, that’s all changing.

VoIP Explained

In Australia, the internet is largely powered by a system of copper cables, which can result in slow downloading and uploading speeds, thus creating problems when making phone calls. Now, Australia is unleashing its NBN network, which will see the copper cables replaced with fibre-optic alternatives.

Fibre-optic cables can carry signals much faster than copper wires. As a result, internet-based phone systems will become more reliable, which is why now is a good time to consider switching to a VoIP phone solution. Essentially, thanks to VoIP, you can have clear conversations in real-time with anybody in the world, provided you both have an internet connection.

The Benefits of VoIP for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses?

From reducing your expenses to expanding your reach, here are the benefits of VoIP for small to medium-sized businesses in Australia.

  • Cost

Both the installation and running costs of a VoIP system tend to be lower than a traditional phone system. Because your VoIP is powered by your internet, you don’t need to install phone lines, meaning you’ll only have one bill for your internet usage and phone calls.

  • Accessibility

Distance is no obstacle when it comes to making phone calls with a VoIP system. If you have an internet connection, you can communicate in near real-time. You can use additional communication services like video conferencing.

  • Flexibility

As you grow you can scale your business with extra capacity as required.  How? With VoIP, you simply need to extend your bandwidth. There’s no limit to the number of VoIP phone handsets you can use.

  • Additional features

With a traditional phone system, you often pay an additional fee for features such as call forwarding, voicemail, call waiting, and caller ID. VoIP systems are flexible and cost effective when deploying extra services.

Learn More about Our VoIP Services

If you’re a small to medium-sized business that wants to cut costs, improve communications and be prepared to have a phone system that can easily be adapted to suit your unique requirements, you should learn more about VoIP for NBN. Call our experts today 1300 28 28 78 and we’ll gladly provide more information.

How to take the pain away by using Computer Troubleshooters?

Our network of offices has invested in becoming accredited nbn advisers. The benefits of using a nbn accredited adviser are:

  • Smooth transition

Using a nbn business adviser will allow you to focus on your business with an adviser working through the challenges of your migration. They take the headaches on, as you remain productive in your business.

  • Minimise risk of disruption

Migration requires time and is complex, there are many pitfalls that can lead to delays and disruption to your ability to trade effectively. The adviser is across the technology and therefore can predict the issues and proactively avoid them ensuring your transition is completed in the quickest possible time.

  • Choices: choosing the right solution

The role of the adviser is to understand your business needs today and into the future. Those business needs should dictate the choice of the solution. The adviser can explain, simplify and help you understand how the solution meets your needs best. They provide the peace of mind that you are selecting the right solution.

  • Maximising the benefit of the nbn

The nbn will initially involve a change but it brings many more opportunities to digitise your business and transform it increasing your productivity and profits.  Your local Computer Troubleshooters nbn adviser can help you identify and map the areas for digitalisation. Plan to benefit and transform.

The starting point is to call your local office on 1300 28 28 78 and follow the prompts to be transferred to your nearest Computer Troubleshooters office. Be proactive and act now and while at ask for a Security IT assessment for your business.

Websites Sources:

www.nbnco.com.au
www.communications.gov.au/what-we-do/internet/national-broadband-network/getting-ready-connect-nbn
https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/internet-landline-services/national-broadband-network-nbn

 

My Business Will Never Be Hacked – Really?

Avatar On: January, 20th 2020 | Under: Computer Networking, Data Recovery, Technology & Tools


My Business Will Never Be Hacked – Really?

Many Australian small businesses have a false sense of security about their business not being hacked. Despite this confidence, the statistics don’t lie and Australian small to medium businesses need to be prepared and able to defend themselves effectively against a hack.

Often, small companies simply assume that they’ll never be targeted by hackers. However, as many as one in three adult Australians fall victim to cybercrime, and hacking is on the rise in just about every industry.

ASBFEO has reported that 43% of all cybercrimes are committed against small business and the average cost of a cyber-attack to a business in Australia is around $276,000 per attack.

Unfortunately, IT security is often seen as a fix rather than an ongoing process, and the cyber hacking security environment is ever changing. This means IT Security  needs to be a constant discussion point for the owners of small to medium businesses.

With resources being a challenge for any business, it is recommendation that a business should look to use an IT expert for advice, direction and execution of their security defence plan. The statistics tell you with cybercrime on the rise, there’s never been a more crucial time than now to protect your IT infrastructure.

As the world becomes more and more dependent on complex IT solutions and infrastructure, the threat of cybercrime will continue to rise. No matter how advanced the latest IT solutions are, hackers will develop new and sophisticated ways to penetrate them. So, what can you do to avoid being hacked? And what can you do if your company server is hacked?

How to Bolster Your Cyber Security

Here are some of the most effective ways to prevent your company from being hacked:

  • Backup your data

Plenty of hackers would love to gain access to your business data, such as customer contact details, purchase order histories, forecasts and other sensitive information. You need to back up your data so that if it is lost or stolen, you can recover it in its entirety.

  • Password Management

Ensure that your staff are required to change passwords regularly and enforce this by managing the process. Don’t store your passwords but use a password manager application. Ensure that all passwords are strong by using uppercase, lowercase numbers, special characters and numbers.

  • Two Factor Authentication

Two factor authentication requires users to not only enter a password but also confirm the password through another item like a code that is either delivered to a phone or to a nominated email address. All major applications are now enforcing two factor authentication and so you should too.

  • Create a Cybersecurity Culture

It is a fact that a lot of security breaches occur via email by staff either opening an attachment or clicking on a link that contains a piece of malicious malware. Staff often use social media and accidently post information that allows the cyber criminals to activate or launch an attack on your business. The only way to avoid this internal threat (by you or your staff), is to ensure they are educated correctly on what to look for and what to do. This is about education and developing a cyber security culture within your business.

  • Utilise remote servers

Why risk keeping all your IT systems and data in one place when you can store everything on secure, remote servers (otherwise known as cloud computing)? Most IT service providers utilise a network of remote servers so that if one fails, another can simply take over.

  • Mobile Staff using public Wi-Fi

No matter where you or your staff are, they will be using their various devices to continue working. This means they are accessing valuable information via a public network that is vulnerable. People can see the data and access it in transit. Think about the coffee shop, or the usage of a hotels free Wi-Fi service. Such public networks are very vulnerable, and you cannot be sure about how secure the connection is. Ensure your staff are using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when accessing or working on company related information. A VPN will encrypt traffic so the WI-FI network cannot see what is being transmitted over the network. As an alternative your staff can also setup a hotspot for their mobile data.

  • Develop a business continuity and disaster recovery plan

It’s essential to create a strategy to deal with disasters, both before and after they occur. You should take as many preventative measures as possible to avoid a cyber-attack, but you also need to be prepared for any situation.

  • Outsource IT security

The most straightforward way to guarantee the safety of your IT systems is to outsource maintenance and security to a dedicated and highly experienced service provider. That way, you’ll know who to call when you have been hacked.

What to do if my business gets hacked?

If you’re unlucky enough to fall victim to cybercrime, you’ll need to report the breach and contact your insurance provider. However, you also need the contact details for an IT service provider who can quickly get your business back up and running to minimise your losses.

At Computer Troubleshooters, we specialise in all matters related to IT, whether you want to install an internet-based phone network, a cloud-based computing system or a sophisticated security solution.

We can prevent hackers from being able to access your infrastructure, give you access to the latest equipment so that you can compete with industry giants, and help you get back up and running in the event that anybody tries to steal your data.

Call us today, and we’ll gladly explain how we can fortify your IT infrastructure. Call 1300 28 28 78 and enter your postcode to be transferred to your nearest local Computer Troubleshooter Business Solutions expert or visit www.computertroubleshooters.com.au

Reference points:
ASBFEO Australian Small Business Family Enterprise Ombudsmen
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: The Cyber Security Review report

Why Migrate to Office 365

Avatar On: December, 18th 2019 | Under: How To: Technology 101, Microsoft 365, Office 365


Office 365 for My Business

Why Migrate?

Whether you’re a start-up, a local, medium-sized business or a global corporation, you probably depend on applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel. Today’s work environment requires employees and businesses to be more collaborative and to be able to work on documents, files remotely, on multiple devices and at various times of the day.

The easiest solution to ensure your team can do what they need to do when they need to be ensuring you have deployed Office 365. If you haven’t migrated to Office 365, you might be using outdated and unsecure applications. Just as importantly, you’re missing out on the many business benefits that Office 365 has to offer.

What Is Office 365?

Office 365 is a suite of software applications by Microsoft Windows. They include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Outlook – most of which are used by many Australian businesses daily. Just a few years ago, you’d need to install each of these applications on every device you wished to use them, and the software would need to be replaced eventually with new versions meaning significant cost in upgrades and maintaining a licence register.

This is eliminated when you subscribe to Office 365, you pay for what you use on a per user basis per month. This give you capability to scale quickly and to remove people as required meaning you are in control of your cashflow.

Why Migrate to Office 365?

For businesses in Australia, Office 365 is beneficial for countless reasons. It improves data security, collaboration, productivity and more. Still wondering why move to O365? Here are the primary benefits in more detail:

  • Store documents in the cloud

Instead of saving essential documents on your hard drive, you can store them on OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage solution. It is recommended that you still back up your files as part of your disaster recovery plan.

  • Access documents using any device with an internet connection

Because you can save your files in the cloud, you can access them using any device with an internet connection, regardless of your location. Microsoft has created its applications to be flexible so that you can work on documents using your computer, tablet or phone.

  • Ensure you always have the latest applications

Microsoft frequently releases software updates, security upgrades and patches for its Office applications. It is highly recommended that you discuss with your local Computer Troubleshooters location where for a small monthly fee they will ensure that all updates are installed on all devices your team are using. This means you’ll always be using the very latest version of your essential business applications.

  • Collaborate on documents in real-time

One of the best features of Office 365 is that it enables multiple users to work on the same document at the same time, boosting workplace productivity and communication while saving you time and money.

  • Learn ways to optimise core business processes

The powerful Office 365 suite has so many more elements than the traditional applications of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. There are extensive communication capabilities, there is the collaborative application of Microsoft Teams and even the capability of analysing data The result is that you can develop some invaluable insights regarding ways to streamline your business processes. If you want to learn more about the capabilities of Office 365, we encourage you to call us.

Learn More about Office 365

Office 365 comprises all the essential applications you need to run many of your core business processes, but it comes with the added benefits of improved security, communication, productivity and value. Instead of purchasing each application outright (which you’ll need to do periodically to remain on top of the latest developments), you can subscribe to the cloud-hosted suite of Office 365 applications and realise all the benefits detailed above. If you need help migrating or want to learn more about the advantages of Office 365, call us today on 1300 28 28 78.

IT Challenges

Key IT Challenges

Avatar On: December, 18th 2019 | Under: support, Technology & Tools


Key IT Challenges

Small to Medium- Businesses

All businesses in Australia depend on their IT systems to remain functional and therefore face some key IT challenges in a changing environment. Not all businesses are large enough to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on the most sophisticated equipment and solutions. As a result, many small to medium-sized businesses face numerous challenges with regards to IT. Below, we explain what some of these challenges are and how you can overcome them.

Security

With cybercrime on the rise, security is one of the most pressing concerns for small to medium-sized businesses in Australia, today it is not will I be compromised but when and that creates the environment where a business needs to prevent rather than react.

If you choose to store IT equipment inside your premises, you need to think about how you can restrict access to them, safeguard them from accidents, keep them in full working order, and much more. Alternatively, you can outsource IT security to a team of experts, which can help you save time, money and effort.

Data Protection

Data is one of the world’s most valuable assets. According to many studies, data is now more valuable than oil. As you might expect, there are plenty of people that would love to get their hands on the data owned by big businesses. However, even small to medium-sized businesses need to remain vigilant. If you lose sensitive information such as customer contact details, invoices and purchase order histories, your business could be harmed financially, and it could also affect your reputation.

The most straightforward way to protect your data is to embrace the cloud. By storing your data remotely rather than on hardware kept within your premises, you can keep it out of the hands of hackers. You can minimise the impact of downtime through having the ability to restore your data quickly. The discussion with your IT service provider is about a solution that ensures quick restoration of your systems.

Business Resource Planning

As a small or medium-sized business, spending your money wisely is a necessity. But how do you budget for your IT requirements when you can’t precisely predict what the future holds? Can your business adapt and leverage the new technologies as they become available in the market.

IT infrastructure is expensive and is a capital expenditure but taking advantage of an outsourced relationship with a monthly fee, supported by usage of cloud infrastructure and cloud applications you move the IT budget from capital expenditure to operational and you minimise your investment cost.

Small to medium businesses can avoid the investment in hardware and equipment that becomes redundant in the space of a few years. Often, companies need to hire an entire department of IT experts to help them manage their IT infrastructure and plan the future of their resource budget.

Again, outsourcing IT resource planning can help you save money because third-party providers allow you to scale your requirements as necessary.

Remaining up to Date

As mentioned above, IT solutions, hardware and software applications can become outdated within the space of a few years. If you fail to keep on top of the latest developments, you may give your competitors an edge.

Our IT experts can implement a range of IT systems, from cloud-hosted Office applications to an enterprise resource planning system, on your behalf and update them automatically so that you can concentrate on what you do best.

Business Process Integration

Does your IT infrastructure work as efficiently as it could? Can various IT systems share data so that you can maximise productivity in your workplace while mitigating the risk of errors? Process integration is an integral part of streamlining your core business tasks in today’s increasingly competitive world. If you want to find out how process integration can help you, we’d love to hear from you.

What to do next?

Start the discussion about your own IT challenges with your local Computer Troubleshooters Office, ask for a risk assessment, or ask if they can do a IT health check for you? Work out the key priorities and start to partner with your local Computer Troubleshooters IT expert. 1300 28 28 78 or visit www.computertroubleshooters.com.au

There’s no need to worry about overcoming IT challenges if you partner with our experts at Computer Troubleshooters. Learn more about how we can help you boost productivity and profitability by calling us today.

The Cloud explained  Why Migrate?

Avatar On: November, 6th 2019 | Under: Computer Equipment, Microsoft 365


The Cloud explained  Why Migrate?

Cloud adoption by Australian businesses is on the rise, despite this nearly over 50% of small businesses are yet to embrace cloud computing.  Why? Is it because company owners are unaware of the benefits? Or, is it because people don’t fully understand what cloud services are?

Companies stand to gain by switching to the cloud. How? It can improve your cyber security, increase workplace productivity, minimise downtime and ultimately boost your bottom line. Let’s dig deeper into cloud computing and its benefits before looking at how it’s shaping the modern world of business.

Cloud Computing Explained

Data stored in the cloud refers to data that’s saved on remote servers in data centres rather than in-house servers or your computer’s hard drive. You can use the internet to access applications and data stored on remote servers, which is widely known as cloud computing. Because information is stored remotely, you can access it using any device with an internet connection.

Key Benefits identified when Migrating a Business to the Cloud

With cloud computing, you can essentially set up a virtual office, providing you with numerous benefits:

  • Reduced IT Costs – Operating expendiure than Capital expenditure

Use cloud-hosted applications, and you won’t need to purchase, maintain or replace on-site hardware, such as servers and cooling equipment. Additionally, you’ll likely get automatic updates and security upgrades as part of your subscription. You can save a small fortune by outsourcing IT maintenance and no need to replace equipment regularly.

  • Scalability when required

You can scale your data storage requirements as and when required when you store it in the cloud, mitigating risks to your business while preparing you for any situation. You can also deal with growth easily regarding software, hardware and storage needs. You add more seats, space, as you need it. Enabling you to budget more effectively.

  • Less Downtime

Downtime can be costly for any sized business. If you have a problem with on-site hardware, you could suffer financially for countless reasons. Store your data in the cloud where it will be backed up automatically, and you’ll minimise the chances of business downtime while ensuring the safety of your data.

  • Increased Productivity

Multiple people from all over the world can access the same data and use the same applications simultaneously thanks to the cloud. By being able to give your employees the ability to collaborate virtually in real-time, you’ll increase workplace productivity, which could work wonders for your business.

How the Cloud Has Impacted the Australian Business Landscape

According to a government survey, cloud services are becoming increasingly popular with Australian businesses. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 42% of businesses said they used cloud services between the years 2017 and 2018. That’s an increase of about 11% compared to the two previous years.

Companies with more than 200 employees represent the largest adopters of public cloud services. Lack of knowledge on cloud computing is the biggest reason preventing smaller companies from following suit.

Moving to the Cloud?

According to the government survey, most small companies fail to adopt cloud services due to a lack of understanding. Some companies believe it’s more cost-effective to pay for an application outright rather than subscribe to its cloud-based counterpart. In reality, using cloud-based applications, whether they’re Google’s range of business apps or management software, can save you money, increase your income, mitigate risks to your company and much more. Learn more about the benefits of the cloud by calling your local Computer Troublehsooter 1300 28 28 78 today.