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Small Business Owner? How to Choose Tech Support

Computer Engineer Helping Small Business Owner

Small Business Owner? How to Choose Tech Support

It is an unfortunate truth that many small businesses assume they don’t need to outsource their IT needs to a professional IT company.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, small businesses desperately need IT support — often, because they won’t have the resources to staff an in-house IT department.

Fortunately, IT companies generally offer support contracts that can work in a small business’s favor. Your company will be able to choose the level of support you specifically need. If you only require IT services occasionally, for troubleshooting network problems or setting up new software, for example, you can choose a low-level contract that won’t cost much. If you’re looking for more comprehensive coverage, you can always scale up.

Here are some other important tips to consider when choosing tech support for your small business.

Consider what type of fee structure you prefer.

IT companies generally offer two different types of fee structures:

  • A flat fee due monthly, biannually, or annually
  • A pay-as-you-go structure

Every business is different, but it is possible (and maybe even likely) that your small business won’t benefit from a flat fee payment structure.

This is because you may not actually end up needing the extent of services that a flat fee structure is best for. Larger businesses, certainly, will need to contact and get help from their IT company regularly every week or month. In fact, these companies often have in-house IT. But If your small business only uses IT minimally (for example, just for your website or for inventory ordering, etc.), you won’t use enough of your support package, and paying the flat-rate fee will get expensive.

On the other hand, we must note that niche industries may require a lot of IT tech support — even if your business is small. If this is the case for you, a flat rate monthly or biannual fee could be beneficial.

Look for IT companies who’ve been in the industry a while.

Brand-new IT companies often nab customers by claiming to know the latest trends in IT and how to best handle the most recent wave of cyberattacks. While these are both areas to be concerned about, as a local business or one that’s just starting out, these benefits (if they are actually true in the first place) may not be particularly beneficial to you.

As a small business, you basically want reliable IT support for basic security monitoring, troubleshooting, and possible software or hardware recommendations and/or setups. For this reason, it’s important to search for an IT company that is local and has been in the industry for a long period of time. This means they have the experience, which is exactly what you want. Ask the IT companies you are considering to speak with clients they’ve worked with for a long time so that you can get a handle on the kind of support you’ll be receiving from them.

Find an IT company that can help you grow.

Most small businesses are looking for ways to grow. If this is the case for your business, you should start looking for an IT company who can scale up your services when you eventually need them.

We’ve already stated the importance of having several payment options when it comes to your service level needs. This also comes in handy as you look toward the future of your business. While now, you may prefer a pay-as-you-go structure, you should work with an IT company who offers bigger, broader, flat-rate packages too. The extent of their services should also run the gamut.

With this in mind, also remember that an enormous IT company who won’t be able to provide personalized support to your niche industry isn’t generally recommended. The potential for scalability down the line is key here.

While you may assume that larger businesses are the ones who need all the major tech support, small businesses require IT expertise as well. It’s true that your IT needs may not currently match that of a mid- or large-size enterprise, but investing in the hire of an IT company will surely boost your business’s success as you grow and expand.

Use the simple tips above to locate the optimal IT company for your small business. We’re positive you’ll see the benefits of a good hire right away.

Microsoft Office 365 and Your Business: Boost Productivity with the Right Tech Tools

Office Workers In A Modern Workplace

Microsoft Office 365 and Your Business: Boost Productivity with the Right Tech Tools

The workplace is becoming more and more digital every day. New tech tools are developed regularly, and most have the same goal—to make your life easier. While some new developments end up making life harder because they are hard to learn, cumbersome, or have glitches or bugs, most are specifically designed to be easy to understand and use. Getting things done faster and more efficiently is a huge driver for technology generally, but that is especially true today.

Defining the Modern Digital Workplace

The “Modern Digital Workplace” is a phrase used today that describes utilizing the technology that is most useful for your team. It helps your team by:

  • Making collaboration easier
  • Training and educating faster and more efficiently
  • Compiling documents and information in an easy-to-use and access way
  • Automating processes, to the extent possible, in a way that make sense for your industry and your team
  • Improving digital processes not only internally, but also with partners, suppliers, and other third parties

Technology, when used properly, can make the entire workplace run in a much smoother, more efficient way. New tools allow your team to meet the needs of customers, and the business as a whole, better. When goals are easier to accomplish, productivity gets a huge boost.

The Obvious Connection: Technology and Productivity

In general, the new digital workplace focuses on improving three key areas of a company. These include the following:

  • Employee Collaboration. When employees can team up and get work done easier, it makes projects faster and more efficient. Sometimes talking to one another is the best way to come up with new ideas and simply ensure that everyone is getting their job done effectively and promptly. Making sure that information and the ability to connect with one another is all on one platform is one of the best ways to encourage and foster this type of collaboration.
  • Content Collaboration. Many teams work on the same content at similar times. Being able to share documents, files, and even external information at the same time can be a huge time saver within a company.
  • Business Application. Administrative processes, such as workflow, forms, and rules, can often be automated in a way that cuts down significantly on processing time and time spent requesting or obtaining status updates. Even something as simple as creating digital versions of forms and allowing employees or third parties to input the information themselves can be a huge time saver in many industries.

Transparency regarding work product and processes is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your team is getting their work done and creating a final product that is the best version that you can provide.

Certain technologies often focus on a different area of these three overarching ideas. Some attempt to address all of them, while others target just one or two sections of particular concern. When all three can be addressed, you have a powerful system that encourages accountability, efficiency, and, in turn, productivity.

Office 365’s Role in the Modern Digital Workplace

Office 365 has been created with the Modern Digital Workplace in mind. It is specifically designed to address these three major concerns in an easy-to-use way.

While Office is commonly associated with their most popular programs, like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, they have a whole host of programs that can significantly boost your team’s productivity because they make collaboration and transparency ridiculously easy.

Outlook

Microsoft’s email program, Outlook, has been a staple for many businesses for years. Outlook is more than just email, however. Users can use the calendar to schedule meetings and create task lists. They can also create contact lists and share documents through OneDrive. Outlook’s key focus is employee collaboration.

Microsoft Teams

This relatively new feature allows employees and third parties to chat, share documents, work on documents at the same time, schedule meetings, have audio and visual video calls, create notes, and more. It is also integrated with several very popular apps and services, including OneDrive, SharePoint, Yammer, Dynamics 365, and Skype.

Delve

Microsoft Delve shows what your team is working on, popular documents, and provides insightful information to workers who might be interested in them. Employees develop profiles, and they can find and organize information based on interests. It also allows workers to search for documents that are connected through SharePoint and OneDrive.

Yammer

Yammer is similar to a social networking site, but it is limited to your employees and other workers. It is designed to encourage communication throughout your organization. Its focus is on ensuring that information is accessible and shared at virtually every level.

Microsoft Planner

This tool allows your team to create new plans, assign tasks, share files, and organize projects. You can easily see what people are working on and get updates on progress for various tasks. This type of open communication makes assigning projects and getting status updates easy and more efficient.

SharePoint and OneDrive

OneDrive is a straight-forward means to share files, both internally and externally. SharePoint uses sites and files, team news, lists, libraries, and more to encourage collaboration on documents and files. Both are based on sharing information in the cloud.

Microsoft Flow

This tool is focused on making internal processes easier and more efficient. It helps automate and exchange data. It has built-in alerts and notifications to help address organizational processes like approvals, multi-stage processes, and more.

Using Office 365 to Help Your Business

Every company is different. Office 365 has enough unique tools focused on making your company better that you are bound to find something that fits well for your needs. Encouraging collaboration and automated processing can lead to huge productivity boosts for your business.

How Can You Insert a Text Box in Google Docs?

Woman working on computer in Google Docs

How Can You Insert a Text Box in Google Docs?

There are two simple ways to add a text box into your Google Doc. Each lets you set apart text that stands out. Both methods allow you to copy-paste or move the text box between documents. The methods include inserting a textbox into a table and inserting a text box in a drawing. This article covers inserting text into a table.

How Can You Create a Table Text Box in iOS, Android or in Google Docs?

You can create a Google text box on iOS or Android devices in Google Docs by inserting a table. The app lets you edit the table text box on any device. The default table dimensions are three rows by three columns. The trick is modifying the table to display one row and one column. This results in a single cell, where you can add text.

Here’s how to do that in a Google Doc on iOS and Android:

  1. Select + (add).
  2. Select Table.
  3. Select the down arrow to the right of Columns and reduce the number to 1.
  4. Select the down arrow to the right of Rows and reduce the number to 1.
  5. Select Insert Table.

Your table is created and displays a single cell, which servers are a textbox.

What if I Use Desktop Chrome?

You still use a single-cell table, but the process is a bit different.

Here’s how to do that in a Google Doc on desktop Chrome:

  1. Select + (add).
  2. Select Table.
  3. Adjust Columns and Rows by selecting a single cell. (1×1 will display).
  4. Select Insert Table.
  5. Enter your text into the table cell.

What Should I Know About Entering Text in the Text Box?

In both cases above, you can enter any appropriate text. You can change the font size, font and color just like regular text. If you’re working on a mobile device, select your text and look for and select the text format icon. It’s near the top of your screen and looks like an A with four horizontal lines to the right.

For Chrome Google Docs on the web, highlight the cell text and make format changes using the font controls available on the menu bar. You can also use Format | Text Options to make your changes.

These fast, easy methods give you more control of your content on a variety of platforms.

Microsoft’s Hyper-V Server 2019 Finally Released: Here’s What You Need to Know

Microsoft’s Hyper-V Server 2019 Finally Released

After being plagued with everything from data loss issues to a lack of available hardware, Microsoft finally released their long-awaited Hyper-V Server 2019 to their Evaluation Center approximately eight months after the expected release date of October 2, 2018. This is even after the Microsoft team skipped the crucial RTM (“release-to-manufacturing”) stage that allowed hardware developers to deploy and test adequately, forcing a holdup before organizations could even utilize the update. The mysterious delays of this free enterprise-class server virtualization solution may make users a little wary, but the functionality offered may simply be too tempting to overlook the release.

hyper-v to amazon

What Is Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2019?

Microsoft’s Hyper-V Server 2019 is a free product that is meant to compete directly with VMWare, providing enterprise-class virtualization for your datacenter and hybrid cloud, according to Microsoft’s Evaluation Center website. Essentially, you’re able to quickly scale and balance workloads to meet the demanding performance requirements of today’s data-heavy businesses. The release contains the Windows hypervisor technology as well as a simple and reliable virtualization component and a Windows Server driver model. The product is intended to help reduce costs and improve overall server utilization. You can easily compare Windows Server versions in this free online tool from Microsoft.

“We Found Some Issues with the Media”

Microsoft’s bland explanation of why they quickly pulled Windows Hyper-V Server 2019 from the Evaluation Center almost immediately included this note on their blog: “As we were getting ready to publish Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2019 in the Evaluation Center, we found some issues with the media. We are actively working on resolving it”. This was after the software giant released the Windows Server 2019 evaluation media, minus the Hyper-V Server portion of the package. While it’s fortunate that Microsoft immediately discovered these issues before the software was widely implemented, there were still some critical features that users had been anxiously awaiting for many months. It appears there were some issues with Remote Desktop Protocol and media installation problems, too.

While it seems that all of the glitches have been safely ironed from Microsoft’s latest release, wary users may want to give the platform a few months before launching into full utilization. After more than seven months of delays, Microsoft has left fans wondering if they’re preparing to phase out the popular — and free — tool in the future.

Why Is Wi-Fi So Slow on My Phone?

Wifi slow

Just about nothing is more frustrating when using a smartphone than connecting to a sluggish or broken Wi-Fi network. In most places, mobile data is so effective and speedy these days that we just can’t accept a Wi-Fi network performing worse than our mobile networks can.

If you’re dealing with obnoxiously slow speeds on your mobile phone, here are some tips to try.

1. Isolate the Problem

Your first step is to isolate the problem. First, toggle off Wi-Fi altogether. Does your phone respond quickly with Wi-Fi turned off? If so, you’ve determined that Wi-Fi is the problem. You can skip to step 2.

If your phone is still sluggish with Wi-Fi turned off, it’s time to check whether the problem is your connection or the device itself. Use a speed tester, like the app from speedtest.net, to see how fast or slow your cellular connection is. If you get a bad result, you’re likely in a bad coverage area. If you get a good result, though, then your phone’s sluggishness isn’t related to your internet speed. Chances are there is something wrong with the device itself, or perhaps it’s just too old and needs to be replaced.

2. Check Your Router Location

Next, check your router location. Wireless routers have range limits, too. If you’re far away from your router or if there are thick walls or furniture between you and your router, your speed will be diminished. Try operating right next to the router and see if your speeds improve.

The best location for your wireless router is the center of your home or office, away from any walls or furniture. Of course, this is rarely practical. Get creative and find an inventive way to place your router in a good location.

3. Check Router Strength

All routers have limits, and some have a stronger broadcast strength than others. If improving your router’s location doesn’t do enough, you may need to upgrade to a model with a greater range.

4. Watch Out for Noise and Competing Networks

Certain electronic devices create noise that can weaken your Wi-Fi network’s performance. Anything that emits wireless signals or even electromagnetic radiation can interfere. Cordless landline phones, walkie-talkies, and even microwaves can interfere. Position your router away from devices like these.

You also want to watch out for competing networks. The more wireless networks are competing for the same spectrum space, the worse the performance. In a high-density situation like an apartment complex, you may encounter this kind of network crowding. Your wireless router has the ability to change which portion of the wireless spectrum it uses. Review the documentation that came with your router to learn how to do this. You may want to download a Wi-Fi analyzer app to help determine the best spectrum space for you.

5. Consider Network Congestion

Another reason for slow Wi-Fi is network congestion. Your home or business internet bandwidth has its limits. So does public Wi-Fi.

On a lower speed home network, consider who else is using your connection and what they are doing with it. Gaming and streaming can eat up a lot of bandwidth. Perhaps your Wi-Fi is slow because others are using up all your bandwidth. The same principle is in play with public Wi-Fi networks.

If you’ve tried all these steps and still aren’t getting the performance you need, give us a call. We can help you solve your connection issues!

How to Select Between Office 2019 and Office 365

Office 2019 and Office 365

Without the ability to quickly and easily access the right business productivity software, your office is likely to come grinding to a halt. The basic tools and functionality that businesspeople utilize throughout the world are something that we are so used to we often forget it is there — until something happens and it’s not working! With the latest release of updates to the perennial favorite Microsoft Office suite of software, there are two key options for obtaining licenses and many businesses struggle to determine which is right for their needs. While the core functions of the platforms are nearly identical, there are significant differences in the pricing models as well as how often you receive updates to the software. This quick overview will help you select between the two primary options for Microsoft Office based on your current needs and where your business is headed in the future.

What Is the Difference Between Microsoft Office 365 and Office 2019?

There are a few key differences between the two versions of this most popular business productivity software suite. Office 2019 provides the core functionality of Microsoft Outlook, Access, Excel, Word, PowerPoint and OneNote. This perpetual, on-premise license is valid for a single device and named user. While transferrable, this more traditional license model does have some serious limitations. You won’t receive support, you won’t receive improvements and you’ll be missing some of the cool new AI and cloud features. What you gain is a one-time purchase of software that your business can safely use for years.

With Office 365, Microsoft generously provides a set amount of storage space per license and the licenses are valid for up to 5 total devices so you’re able to work with more flexibility. This includes fully-featured mobile versions of the popular Office software as well as real-time collaboration tools and Skype minutes. New features, patches and bug fixes are dropped on a regular schedule and there are several different plans available so you can select the one that most closely meets your needs.

Which Microsoft Office Option is Best for Startups?

Startup businesses are often running lean and mean, making it difficult to make an early investment in business software. With Microsoft Office 365, you’re able to make a smaller monthly investment in your business software, while funneling any additional funds back into growing your business and attracting customers. Microsoft offers several attractive options for businesses that are just getting started, such as their Microsoft 365 solution, that brings together office productivity software plus Windows platform, cybersecurity options and device management. With a monthly or annual subscription, you will always have the right number of licenses as your business grows and won’t be overpaying for licenses that you’re not quite ready for yet.

Which Microsoft Office Option is Best for Small Businesses?

While it’s relatively easy to make a selection for business startups, small businesses might find that there’s a slightly different value proposition to consider. Some businesses are small simply because they’re in a period of growth and are still scaling up, while others are mature businesses that are considered small by design. If your small business is still in growth mode — regardless of the age of your business — you might be better off selecting Microsoft Office 365 or Microsoft 365 to support all of your business needs. These scalable solutions receive updates in real-time as they’re released and ensure that you are fully covered for all upgrades in the future.

Small businesses that are stable in size and have a fair amount of upfront capital available for purchase may find that the perpetual license option with Microsoft Office 2019 is more attractive. While you’re still receiving the full desktop versions of all the office software that your team needs to be productive, you can save money over time as many businesses keep their Office suite for multiple years without an upgrade. This isn’t necessarily recommended, even though critical security patches will still come through. You might be missing out on new functionality that will help your business move more swiftly or collaborate more cleanly internally and with external customers.

Which Microsoft Office Option is Best for Mid-Size Businesses?

Businesses that are in a stable growth pattern often reach for the more flexible software alternative that leaves resources free to re-invest in the business — Microsoft Office 365. As organizations mature, they are more likely to be multi-site and have more complex needs for management of their licensing, and also the added complexity involved with a larger pool of staff members. With Office 2019, some staff may find that the options are too limiting such as the inability to utilize popular programs on their platform of choice. Windows 10 and MacOS are the only two operating systems supported with Microsoft 2019, and customer support is not available. When you contrast that with the full support for Office 365 and the flexibility to also utilize older Windows operating systems, mid-size businesses may find that Office 365 is a better value for their organization.

There are no hard and fast rules about which solution is right for your business. If your organization runs on multiple platforms with professionals who need to be productive regardless of their physical location, Office 365 may be a better fit. More traditional office settings where there are limited changes and a fair amount of capital to invest may discover that Office 2019 perfectly suits their needs. Microsoft Office is still the choice for the vast majority of business users throughout the world, meaning new employees will be comfortable — and productive — right away.

Important Security News About Mac & Zoom

Did you know that your Macintosh webcam could have been hijacked? A serious security flaw in the Zoom video conferencing application joined Mac users to video calls without their permission.

Zoom and Mac Security

Zoom has now released a fix – click here.

A vulnerability in the MacZoom client allowed malicious websites to enable Mac cameras without users’ permissions. This is a serious flaw that was thankfully discovered by Jonathan Leitschuh.

Jonathan Leitschuh, a US-based security researcher, reported this serious zero-day vulnerability. It allowed any website to forcibly join someone to a Zoom call, and activate their video camera.

Plus, he said that the vulnerability let any webpage cause a Denial of Service (DOS) by repeatedly joining the Mac user to an invalid call.

Even if the user uninstalled the Zoom application from their Mac, it could be re-installed remotely.

What Should Mac Users Do?

To fix this particular issue, Leitschuh advised that Mac users with the Zoom application installed, update it to the latest version of Zoom and then check the box in settings to “Turn off my video when joining a meeting.”

A computer webcam is always a potential gateway for security intrusion. This is why some users put a piece of tape over their webcam just in case.

Zoom Has Since Patched The Vulnerability

The vulnerability has been patched; however, the flaw could have exposed up to 750,000 organizations around the world that use Zoom.

Leitschuh said that the Zoom vulnerability was originally disclosed on March 26, 2019, and that a “quick fix” from Zoom could have been implemented to change their server logic. However, it took them 10 days to confirm the vulnerability. And, it wasn’t until June 11, 2019, that Zoom held their first meeting about how to patch the vulnerability. This was only 18 days before the required 90-day public disclosure deadline.

He said that he contacted Zoom on March 26, giving them the public disclosure deadline of 90 days. Zoom patched the issue, so a webpage couldn’t automatically turn on a webcam, but that this partial fix regressed on July 7th, allowing webcams to once again be turned on without permission.

What Was Zoom’s Response?

“Zoom installs a local web server on Mac devices running the Zoom client…This is a workaround to an architecture change introduced in Safari 12 that requires a user to accept launching Zoom before every meeting. The local web server automatically accepts the peripheral access on behalf of the user to avoid this extra click before joining a meeting. We feel that this is a legitimate solution to a poor user experience, enabling our users to have seamless one-click-to-join meetings, which is our key product differentiator.”

Zoom also reported that they had no record of a Denials of Service or this type of weakness being exploited. They said that they fixed the security flaw back in May.

Arming the Next Generation of Cyber Warriors

Cyber Warriors

There are everyday warriors in businesses across the country, but these individuals may never have worn the uniform of their country. This next generation of cyber warriors is being groomed by organizations of all sizes in an attempt to overcome the growing skills gap in the cybersecurity world. While many current cybersecurity analysts started in general IT, there are individuals throughout the business and technology world that are moving towards this lucrative career path. Unfortunately, there are few set career paths already in place and no firm list of skills to develop to move in this direction. See what Under Armour’s VP & CISO, Matt Dunlop, is doing to arm the next generation of cyber warriors that he knows his organization desperately needs.

Background of a True Cyber Warrior

One of the key reasons that Matt Dunlop sees the value of developing these skill sets is because he’s worked throughout the fields of mathematics and computer engineering since his time in the U.S. Army as a colonel. After starting as a network engineer, he further developed his skills by completing a master’s degree in computer engineering and ultimately a doctorate in a related field. When the U.S. Army Cyber Command was created, he was a logical choice to help stand up this new division — partially due to his status as a computer science educator at West Point. In his position as CISO with Under Armour, he’s able to bring together his passion for teaching and marry it with his deep knowledge of technology and cybersecurity. “As we look into the future and project this huge job shortage, companies are looking for the silver bullet,” says Dunlop. “But I look at it as a long game.”

Creating Lifelong Learners

Cybersecurity is an ever-changing landscape and one that doesn’t have a set career path or an endpoint. Dunlap is currently working with the National Cyber Education Program to help create a generation of students that are interested in the exciting field of cybersecurity. There is a major deficit of individuals who have the breadth and depth of knowledge that would allow them to effectively provide cybersecurity protection for an organization. Sparking the interest of the next generation of smart workers is crucial, especially as automation takes the place of low-level activities and leaves plenty of room available for strategists and individuals who are able to implement more complex — and therefore more challenging — environments. Historically, cybersecurity professionals begin as entry-level IT professionals and work their way through the ranks to ensure that they gain the necessary knowledge about infrastructure and integrations to help protect an organization from both malicious actors and internal business challenges.

Cloud is Changing the Face of Cybersecurity

As cloud-based applications gain prominence in today’s business world, cybersecurity professionals will need a better understanding of data and integrations as well as hardware and servers. Transitioning from general IT to cybersecurity requires in-depth knowledge of how and where weak points can occur in an organization’s security net. From next-generation firewalls to strategies for warding off malware and phishing attacks, there are integration details that require recognition of how data flows throughout your business — and beyond. Pulling together information from disparate cloud-based platforms leaves a fail point that needs to be monitored, especially when you consider the proliferation of third-party vendors in the business ecosystem. Each link in the chain that passes data between organizations and customers must be analyzed and monitored for compliance and security throughout the sales and manufacturing cycle.

Arming the next generation of cyber warriors starts with firing the imagination of generations of children and young adults as they enter the formative years of their education. Cybersecurity is an exciting career path and one that will continue to morph as threats emerge. Encouraging staff members to become lifelong learners is one of the shorter-term ways that Dunlop encourages individuals to enter the cybersecurity field, but he is the first one to recognize that we need a broader group of future professionals to enter this critical field and support the security of businesses in the future.

Which Office 365 Plan Works Best for Your Organization?

Microsoft Office products have become ubiquitous throughout a range of industries, and there are more choices than ever before to find the suite of professional office software tools you need to run your business effectively.

While you can still find Office products available for a single licensing fee (Office 2019, for example), most businesses are turning to Office 365 as a subscription software solution that offers a range of powerful tools, including cloud storage and seamless sharing integration across devices.

Microsoft Office 365 Plans

But if you’re ready to move forward with a subscription-based Office 365 solution, you’ve still got to narrow it down for the right product. Will your business benefit from the Business or Enterprise option? If you choose Enterprise, which level makes the most sense for your organization? Read on for a breakdown on how to choose the best Office 365 product for your team [OPTIONAL CTA] and feel free to reach out to us at any time for support or guidance in making the transition to Office 365.

Choosing Between Office 2019 and Office 365

The key distinction between Office 2019 and Office 365 is connectivity. Office 2019 is different in the way you purchase and use it, but more importantly, it does not offer any of the cloud-connected features of Office 365. For businesses wishing to utilize the power of cloud storage as well as greater choice in terms of features and connectivity, the subscription-based Office 365 is the way to go.

Business vs. Enterprise

If you operate a small business, you can find several Office 365 Business options that provide licenses at a set rate per user for up to 300 users. Select either basic plans that focus on cloud storage solutions to more advanced options that also include desktop access to products like Microsoft Word and Excel, as well as cloud collaboration system, SharePoint. Opting for Office 365 Business is a good move if you’re keeping an eye on your budget, but still want to access many of the staple features that Office has developed over several decades. To take full advantage of the cloud tools, larger businesses will want to opt for Office 365 Enterprise options, which offer unlimited data storage, including archive and mail storage. Enterprise plans also allow for greater interaction and collaboration across platforms like SharePoint, which is another bonus for larger companies with employees in multiple sites.

Which Enterprise Level is Right for Your Business?

If you run a larger business, or have a small business with high data storage needs, then choosing Office 365 Enterprise is probably the right choice. Microsoft currently offers 3 levels of service: E1, E3 and E5.

The first level, E1, offers basic office tools, including Word, Excel, and SharePoint, at a reasonable monthly rate. E3 includes these tools as well as additional connectivity–and the protection to go with it. Data loss prevention and encryption are among several tools that Office 365 customers at the E3 level will be able to take advantage of. To consolidate your entire suite of digital solutions into one overarching tool, the E5 level of Office 365 Enterprise includes advanced protection for your company’s data, plus communication tools and video conferencing platform options to best accommodate larger business and keep them in compliance.

As you find the right next move for your organization, feel free to reach out to William Ives Consulting today to assess your needs and the potential solutions that today’s Office products can provide.

A Law Firm’s Guide To Managed IT Services

Law Firm Managed IT Services

Technological downtime can make or break a law firm. Even an hour of downtime can cost a small or medium firm as much as $250,000.

What Exactly Can Go Wrong?

Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law has been known to apply in legal cases, meaning if there is an opportunity for things to go wrong they will. It is important that your firm has a dedicated professional, our team of professionals, either inside or outside the firm that can honor your firm’s confidentiality and keep potential problems at bay and/or under control. Some potential issues include

Case Management Issues

Filing is most efficient when stored electronically. They manage related documents, billing, and customer relationships

Security Problems

Reputation is everything for a law firm, and that extends to the attorneys and other staff at the firm. Still, even with so much on the line, the American Bar Association found that as many as a quarter of firms did not have security policies in place. Nothing puts a damper on a firm’s reputation, or even on specific lawyers than a security breach,

Compliance Issues and Software Integration

Various industries and professions have their own set of confidentiality agreements, that any legal team that works with the company needs to follow in order to protect clients, consumers, and any others involved. Some of these include Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA), the Gramm-Leach-Billey Act of 1999 (GLB) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). Following these privacy acts means that legal professionals are prevented from disclosing information. The same discretion needs to translate to technology compliance.It is necessary to have software in place that can handle this responsibility, and see to it that attorneys and anyone else with access can run any necessary software correctly and efficiently without violating compliance standards.

Internal Collaboration

Internal Collaboration is an issue that needs constant monitoring due to the way social media quickly evolves. It is common for attorneys to use the internet for communication, however, it is less common for them to communicate internally about a case, which would make their casework more efficient. The right social media integration can help improve communication and make casework more thorough and efficient. Salesforce, customer relationship management solutions are a common tool used by attorneys and their firms in order to produce better results for clients.

How a Managed Service Provider Can Help

Proactive and Regular Maintenance at a fixed can cost can help with all these issues by applying the knowledge to give your firm or business the right IT infrastructure that will support your needs. That means that attorneys and other employees will receive the training they need to serve your clients confidently and safely. if you have an existing system in place, we can analyze what you have been doing so that any necessary changes can be quickly set in motion.

While we at the William Ives Consulting manage your system remotely, we are still there remotely to answer questions remotely that will improve customer relations and overall productivity. To learn more about how William Ives Consulting can help your firm contact us today.