Does Your Business Have A Remote Working Plan For Covid-19?

Does Your Business Have A Remote Working Plan For Covid-19?

Does your business have a plan if Covid-19 means your team has to work from home?

If you google ‘Covid-19’ or ‘Coronavirus’, in between updates on confirmed cases, you will find recommendations to businesses urging them to be prepared for their employees to work from home. Even large multinational companies with offices in Ireland, such as Google, LinkedIn and Twitter sent employees home to ‘self-isolate’. This, in fact, was a test by these companies to see if it would be possible to have their large teams work efficiently at home.

Given the continued spread of Covid-19, businesses should have a Work From Home Plan to not only prepare for Covid-19 but also future crises.

But what should your Work From Home Plan include? We’ve compiled a list below to help you get organised and prepared!

Can Your Team Access Their Documents?

Do you have a VPN set up to allow your team to access their essential documents and apps? Creating a VPN allows your employees to connect to a terminal server which enables them to gain access to their data and apps while outside the office.

Beware: Accessing files through a VPN increases the risks of data being stored on your employees’ personal devices, increasing the risk of a data breach.

Alternatively, if your employees have access to the cloud, they can securely log in and work from the cloud, allowing them to access data and work collaboratively on documents with ease. Through enabling Multi-Factor Authentication you can maintain security while employees work remotely

Utilise Office 365

If your business utilises Office 365, then great news, your team can remotely access their emails and documents stored in the cloud from any device! They can also access their much-needed applications, such as SharePoint, Word, Excel, Team, Outlook, etc.

We recommend that you ensure each employee has enabled Multi-Factor Authentication to maximise security. To learn more about Office 365 & Multi-Factor Authentication contact our team today!

Do Your Employees Have The Relevant Hardware?

Do you need to provide every person in your business with a laptop? Possibly, however, if you utilise Cloud Computing, your employees can access their documents and apps through any device.

Do Employees Have Access To Essential Applications?

Unlike Office 365 apps, business essential apps such as Sage, etc do not give employees automatic access while working remotely. Access to these will have to be arranged ahead of time to ensure employees can continue to use them.

Do You Have Cloud Telecoms?

HCS Cloud Telecoms, much like Cloud Computing, allows employees to access their office phone from any device and any location, through using a softphone feature or a mobile app.  This ensures your teams can communicate with each other and customers without any disruptions.

To further enhance communication while working remotely, businesses can embrace a Video Conference Tool to enable face-to-face communication no matter where you are!

What Is Your BYOD Policy?

Many businesses have a Bring Your Own Device Policy, which explains the various guidelines to working from a personal device. This ensures that your business remains GDPR compliant, while also ensuring data integrity and security is maintained at all times. These devices should also have an up-to-date Anti-Virus Software to maximise security.

If your business needs help in preparing for Covid-19 and the eventuality of working remotely, contact our team today! Schedule a call with a HCS Business Solutions Expert and we’ll ensure you are prepared! For more email enquiries@hcs.ie or click the button below!

Is Your Business Covid-19 Ready? Work From Home & Maintain Business Continuity

Is Your Business Covid-19 Ready? Work From Home & Maintain Business Continuity

Covid-19 has quickly become a global issue, with an estimated 87,000 people affected worldwide and with it now spread to at least 30 countries. Due to the recent outbreak of Covid-19 (Coronavirus), we have seen many people enter isolation in a step to halt the spread of this virus. This has lead businesses to plan for their team members to work from home in a measure to limit the risk of a further outbreak. The Coronavirus is steadily spreading through Europe, with Ireland experiencing its first case. This has caused many businesses to prepare for the possibility of its employees working remotely. There have been many cases of businesses sending people home, who have recently visited ‘high risk’ locations and businesses should be prepared for the eventuality of having team members work from home.

IT can enable your business to maintain operations during times of crisis, find out more below!

Ensure Your Team Have Access!

Configure access to your company’s terminal server through a secure VPN & internet connection. This will allow team members to dial into the server and access files and applications. However, be warned, your sensitive data may be put at risk by employees storing confidential company data on personal devices, this could also be seen as a GDPR breach.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a secure solution, allowing team members to access their files on any device from any location. Utilising cloud computing also protects your data as data is not stored on local devices and through utilising security features such as Multi-Factor Authentication, your company’s data is secured against cyber threats. Working efficiently on the cloud, allows employees to share data, communicate and work on documents simultaneously, ensuring collaboration is not affected when working remotely.

The Importance of Hardware

To access data and maintain productivity while working from home, team members must be supplied with appropriate hardware. It is recommended you discuss this with employees and create a database of the hardware requirements of each person/department.

Cloud Telecoms

Ensure your business is contactable even in times of crisis. A Cloud Telecoms Solution allows your employees to be contactable no matter their location. Through using their computer as a softphone or accessing your telecoms system through a mobile application, your business’ phones will remain answered, allowing customers and employees alike to contact you.

Real-Time Conversations

Video conferencing allows your team members to have a face-to-face conversation from any location. This enables employees and departments to maintain regularly scheduled meetings without having to physically be present in the office, thus allowing your business to continue operating and to avoid any delay in decision making.

Chat to our team today to enable your business continuity plan!

Should You Disable Autocomplete in Outlook?

Should You Disable Autocomplete in Outlook?

Microsoft Outlook is the go-to email application for employees around the world. It is where many employees spend a large amount of their work day. Over recent years, Microsoft has grown and evolved Outlook to give users a richer, more enjoyable experience. This integrated email experience for users has a feature referred to as autocomplete, which can autofill the contact details of a recipient.

Autocomplete/Autofill functionality has been available for many years. Once an email has been sent to a recipient, they will then appear in suggested recipients for future emails once you have typed the first few characters of their address. This simple functionality gives users a helpful and practical experience and is intended to improve productivity, as people don’t have to type the full email address each time.  Autocomplete also means you don’t have to add every user you contact regularly to your Outlook address book.

However, because of this, some risks can be associated with this feature, leading to potential data risks. There are also practical issues with this feature, such as;

  • If you enter a new email address incorrectly and send the email, e.g. ddasmith@company.ocm rather than ddasmith@company.com, this new address can be added to your autocomplete list, making it very easy to repeat the mistake in the future.
  • Inbound addresses can be automatically added to your suggestions, even if you have never emailed them.

The risks associated with Autocomplete/Autofill can also not be ignored. These risks may involve sending an email with sensitive data to the wrong recipient, Human Error happens regularly in business, however, some mistakes can lead to severe data loss and reputational damage.

One option to mitigate the risks associated with this issue is to stop using autocomplete, however, this may affect end-user productivity as employees would have to type the email address themselves.

While users are less likely to send an email to the wrong person in their autocomplete list, this may lead to a much larger risk of misdirected emails caused by mis-typiing an email address.

In time, people will end up creating their own ‘autocomplete list’ or address books in other applications, such as Excel, and could end up storing other associated personal data locally on their devices, creating data risks for your business.

We Can Help!

At HCS Business Solutions we can help your business utilise Office 365 to its full potential, while also training your team on the latest Cybersecurity trends to ensure your business remains protected at all times! To learn more, contact our team!

Office 365 or G-Suite, Why SMBs Choose Office 365

Office 365 or G-Suite, Why SMBs Choose Office 365

Productivity tools such as Word processing and spreadsheets have become a vital part of daily workflows for all businesses. As Microsoft continues to grow and businesses increasingly seek cloud-based resources with familiar user experiences, many companies adopt Microsoft Office 365. There are many reasons why SMBs often choose Microsoft Office 365 as opposed to other cloud services such as Google, some of these reasons are;

 

Security

Both Office 365 and G-Suite ensure your business’ sensitive data is secure, however, Office 365 tends to offer stricter security measures to protect users against cyber threats. Office 365‘s enhanced security offering includes some anti-spam and antivirus protection, encrypted access to data and enhanced security with Multi-Factor Authentication.

Microsoft Office 365 is committed to confidentiality, integrity and availability, allowing business continuity to be unaffected in the event of a data breach or physical disaster.

In relation to G-Suite, although Google adheres to a single privacy policy, which is shared across business and customer apps. Due to this, Google’s data protections may not address certain business security requirements.

Innovation

Innovation has always been at the core of Microsoft Office 365’s success. When investing in Office 365, businesses are not only investing in current services but also the services that Microsoft will develop over time.

As of yet, Google has yet to invest as much as Microsoft in solutions, which has encouraged many users to switch from G-Suite to Office 365.

Choosing the right IT Partner to assist you in migrating to Office 365 is a very important choice for your business. Partnering with HCS Business Solutions can ensure your cloud migration journey is as seamless as possible. HCS Business Solutions is a Microsoft Gold Partner with many years of experience in Microsoft Technologies. To learn more about Office 365 and cloud computing contact our team!

Reliability

Office 365 ‘s products and services have been refined and grown over decades of use and user feedback. At the moment, Microsoft is one of few cloud service providers that offer a financially backed service level agreement (SLA) when any Office 365 product drops below 99.9% availability.

Office 365 allows users to scale products up or down, depending on the business need. These web-hosted services enable businesses to maintain low costs while fixed-price plans easily allow companies to plan and budget for the future.

Unfortunately, Google’s G-Suite reliability is not as responsive to users needs, as Google does not recognise downtime until a minimum of 5% of its user base is affected.

Familiarity

Users of Office 365 enjoy a consistent experience across Office 365’s various platforms and devices, both online and offline. The familiarity of Office 365 is one of the reasons Office 365 is a favourite amongst SMBs worldwide. Office 365’s functionality should also be noted as being superior in cloud technology, allowing users to access documents anywhere, at any time and on any device.

In comparison, G-Suite has a relatively inconsistent user experience across services, which causes users to become less productive. It currently has limited offline capabilities, which tends to restrict users who wish to access data when on the go. Users may also encounter problems when sharing documents as Office 365 documents cannot be shared to G-Suite unless converted to Google’s native format, which may lead to formatting issues.

To learn more about Office 365 or to start your Cloud Migration journey complete the form below!

It’s World Backup Day- Here’s Why You Should Backup Your Data!

It’s World Backup Day- Here’s Why You Should Backup Your Data!

Did you know that Sunday, March 31st is World Backup Day? With that in mind, we want to help you understand why you should always be prepared and backup your data!

What is a backup? A backup is a copy of all essential data, e.g. documents, emails, files, etc. Instead of solely storing data on your computer, we highly recommend you store a copy of your data in a safe location, such as the cloud.

Is backing up necessary? It doesn’t matter how big your business is, regular backups are essential to maintain your company’s network. Regular backups may arguably the single most important step to take in relation to your data and network. There are a variety of reasons for this, such as;

1.Technology Issues

Businesses around the world have embraced technology. With this in mind, businesses undertake paper-free transactions. Essential documents and files are often virtually stored on computers. However, what would your business do if a computer mysteriously broke or if a power surge blew the hard drive? Telling your customers that you have lost their valuable information can not only damage your reputation but can also affect your business’ finances. Spare yourself these embarrassing conversations by having a reliable backup plan.

2.Human Error

Human error can happen in any business. Whether it is failing to properly store a document or overwriting an important document, mistakes can happen. A backup and recovery solution plan can ensure human error doesn’t pose a threat to your business.

3.Reputation Management

When a business experiences a cyber attack or a loss of data, they are likely to be subjected to scrutiny from customers and/or the wider public. This may cause damage to the business’ reputation. No business wants to experience the embarrassing moment of explaining to customers that your business has lost their data.

4.Downtime Can Cause Damage

Downtime can greatly affect a business, downtime often leads to production stoppages and services often become unavailable to customers. Without an appropriate data backup plan in place, you’re likely to work hard to restore services, including having to start all over again and rebuild build your data from scratch. Rebuilding a business database and applications from the beginning can take many days and nights, taking up huge resources. While doing this, your business will also have to deal with disappointed customers.

5.Technology Is The Future

Technology is continuously advancing and your business shouldn’t fear it. If your business doesn’t embrace the future, you risk being left behind. Online cloud backup has become one of the most popular methods of data protection that businesses have adopted recently. Online cloud backups allow team members to communicate and collaborate on projects without risking data loss.

When you partner with HCS Business Solutions we will work with yoru business to ensure your essential data is backed up to the cloud. As Microsoft Gold Partners, we are industry-leading experts in Microsoft Technologies. We can also work with you if and when disaster strikes your business, our Disaster Recovery Services can ensure that if you experience a data loss we can recover the data. To learn more about backing up your essential data to the cloud, contact our expert team today!

Get Set Up on Skype for Business

Get Set Up on Skype for Business

Skype for Business is a useful tool for businesses who want to enable their team members to communicate and collaborate with each other. Skype for Business allows you to share content, hold meetings and stay in touch with team members using instant messages. The key to using Skype for Business effectively,involves setting up your devices appropriately.

To quickly and easily set up your devices, check out the steps below!

Set up your audio device

1.From Show Menu, select:

Tools > Audio Device Settings.

2.Below Audio Device, select the device you want and customise the settings:

  • Speaker – Select Play, and drag the slider to adjust the volume.
  • Microphone – Speak to test the volume, and drag the slider until the progress bar reaches the middle of the test area.
  • Ringer – Select Play, and drag the slider to adjust the volume.

3.Adjust the audio settings and select OK.


Set up your video device

1.From Show Menu, select:

Tools > Video Device Settings

2.Below Video Device, select the camera you want.

3.Adjust the camera angle to centre your image in the preview pane.

4.Select Camera Settings if you want to adjust the video processor or camera controls.

5.Select Crop and centre my video in meetings to focus and zoom in on your face during video conferences.

6. Select OK.

To learn more about how Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business can benefit your business, click here!