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Remote Working – Technology Perspective

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


COVID-19 has changed the way we work now and into the future, remote working 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 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 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 of Office 365 which includes capacity to share and store files using OneDrive 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 to 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 to the level of support required by 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.)  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

Is your business ready for the nbn™

Avatar On: August, 6th 2019 | Under: communications, support


The nbn™ Broadband Access Network Switch for Business

Simply put is your business ready to connect to the nbn™ access network?

The network is rolling out across Australia and it is important for a business to be prepared for the transition so that the risk of disruption is minimised by the disconnection of your existing landline infrastructure.

A key strategy is to develop a migration action plan to ensure a smooth transition. This article looks at some of the key checklist points that need to be considered. Your local Computer Troubleshooter Technician has undertaken the training to become a business nbn™ accredited adviser allowing us to help you plan effectively and assist you in the migration process.

What is the scheduled disconnection date for your location?

As the nbn™ access network rolls out progressively across the country, the old copper networks are being made redundant and that requires you to consider what your options are moving forward.

The starting point is to understand when that disconnection will occur in your area. The best way to check this is to visit nbn.com.au/business

It does make business sense that as soon as the nbn™ access network is available that a business does connect to derive the clear benefits of the network.

Why work with a business nbn™ accredited adviser?

There are many decisions to be made in making the switch and this is where the business nbn™ accredited adviser can be of benefit.  Questions around who to choose as the internet and phone provider, understanding the services that need to be migrated, or understanding what services might be impacted by switching networks are areas that your adviser can help you.

In some cases, the business nbn™ accredited adviser may be able to provide or connect you to the right people for some of these services.

What are some of the key services and questions that need to be considered?

ServiceQuestions and factors to be considered
Internet Connection:How to stay online during the period of the switch?
What is the best speed and solution for the business?
Phone Systems PABXEquipment compatibility?
VoIP hosted PABX solutions are they appropriate?
If using VoIP what are your data requirements?
Fax machinesWill the new service you select support the use of a fax machine?
If yes is the machine compatible?
EFTPOS TerminalsHow to minimise disruption during switch? Talk with your provider
Wide area networks such as a VPNWhat are the data requirements for using the VPN service?
Does your equipment need upgrading?
Unified communications
Video Conferencing
What is the computability of your equipment?
What are the data requirements?
Cloud ServicesIdentify and list the services you are using?
What are the data requirements?
What is the solution to minimise disruption as the switch occur

The above checklist has a common theme, compatibility and level of data requirements which feed into what speed and type of plan you need to operate efficiently and effectively.

Other equipment and services areas that need to be considered:

  • Monitored security alarms
  • Fire alarms
  • Lift emergency procedures
  • Medical alarms
  • ATM’s onsite

What is the last consideration?

If a business currently is using copper-based Special Services such as a mega link or an ethernet lite BDSL service, then migrating to the nbn™ access network is likely to be complex and therefore require additional planning in switching these services over.  The major thing is to ensure that these services are organised before your disconnection date or you risk losing access to these services and having major disruption to your business.

It is recommended that you have your new services in place and operating early so you avoid such a disruption.

How can Computer Troubleshooters assist you in this transition?

Ensure the Computer Troubleshooter location carries the business nbn™ accredited adviser status. Once this is established then contact the location via phone and request an appointment to discuss your migration to the nbn™ access network. During this discussion they will also be available to offer you solutions around connections, compatible equipment and specific services such as a VoIP based hosted PABX solution.

Call 1300 28 28 78 to find your nearest location or visit www.computertroubleshooters.com.au

Representatives have undertaken a short course on the nbn™ broadband access network. nbn does not sponsor, endorse or guarantee any advice given or representations made (including any recommendations to purchase goods and services or purchase telecommunication services over the nbn™ access network from a particular phone or internet service provider) and does not guarantee the accuracy of that advice or representation.
nbn™ and other nbn™ Brands are trademarks of nbn co limited and used under licence.

Note: this article has referenced the nbn™ website and marketing material supplied to accredited advisers of the business nbn™ ICT channel program.