What You Need to Know About IT Relocation

Moving your office to a new space is exciting because it is usually a sign that your company is doing well and in need of a bigger and better area to house your growing staff. Perhaps you’ve finally been able to get to the floor with a great view? Whatever the reason for your business move, you must take into consideration how you will relocate your IT equipment. Without technology up and running at all times, most businesses today would be in a heap of trouble. Your IT department is the lifeblood of the company, so you can’t simply hire a team of movers to haphazardly handle your hardware, cables, and other sensitive equipment. Below we discuss what you need to know about IT relocations so you have a completely successful office move.

 

Make an IT Relocation Plan

Before you touch one cord or mainframe, sit down and draw up a plan for IT relocation. Involved in this plan should be an inventory of all communications equipment and IT systems. This will come in handy at the end of the move so you know if you’ve successfully transported everything. Another part of this plan involves the evaluation of the IT infrastructure in the new space, so you know if your office can be up and running right away. Next, be sure to order the correct network cables and necessary phone and ISDN lines for the new space. Last, you must have a business continuity plan in place in the event that there are IT delays or a catastrophe occurs during the relocation.

 

Prep a Detailed Floor Plan

Once you have a strategy in place for the move, it is time to have a more detailed blueprint in place for the equipment itself. Draw up a floor plan that clearly shows the precise location of your networks cables, ISDN and phone lines. This plan needs to be compared to the plans for your new office space so you can visualize where the power cables need to be moved to. The place that your IT equipment is relocated to must be in a clean area with air-conditioning to protect the house servers, routers and switches.

 

Consider a Courier for the Actual IT Relocation

There is a lot involved in the process of actually powering down, unplugging and packing up all of your IT hardware. If you’re moving a lot of servers and computers, you may want to consider a courier service. This will be well worth the money and grief of doing it yourself. Be sure the equipment that you have inventoried is well labeled with who will be using which computer and where they will be sitting. Before unpacking, wait until you have all office furniture in place.

 

Clean and Test Your IT Equipment 

A nice touch will be to clean all of your equipment before the office is all set up. In some cases, you may wish to upgrade your mice, monitors, and keyboards. Before the staff sits down to work, test all of your equipment to make sure it successfully survived the move and that everything has been hooked back up properly.

 

Contact us if you have any questions about IT relocation for your company. Our friendly team is always ready to help! You can also check out our IT Relocation checklist to make sure you’ve got it all covered.

Pros and Cons of Workplace Mobility

Workplace mobility gives employees and customers the ability to access their information from any of their own devices, and from anywhere. This trend is being highly influenced by the many great benefits that it possesses for everyone that is involved. More and more businesses are starting to realize this as time goes on.

Availability

The fact that you are able to view your content from virtually anywhere definitely improves the efficiency and the productivity of your business. Overall, you will have a much greater response from people. When customers have 24/7 access to your content, your revenue will surely increase, maybe even rapidly. This gives everyone from every lifestyle the opportunity to shop or work as they see fit for themselves.

Portability

When employees have extended access to critical work applications it gives them more of a sense of empowerment and enablement. This leads to greater employee satisfaction. Employees will feel more important being able to basically carry their work with them and access it wherever they go.

Employee Satisfaction

When employees view their overall compensation package, the flexibility to work when and where they choose is becoming an extremely important part of it, almost just as important as the pay. This especially holds true for younger workers. They tend to take a good look at flexible schedules and work locations, access to social media, and the ability and privilege of being able to use their own devices to work while on the go just as much as they look at how much a job is going to pay them. For many people, it is all about convenience.

Beneficial to Business

Workplace mobility is beneficial to businesses for a number of different reasons. For starters, it is power saving. When employees are using their own devices to work it can lead to reduced costs, better employee engagement, higher employee compliance, and higher adoption.

The Downside

As with anything in life, there is a downside to workplace mobility. One of these challenges is security. While employees and consumers are asking for quicker and easier access to their account information and work applications, sophisticated hackers are taking advantage of every little crack in the security system. You will often find that the performance of some of these work applications may be poor and slow, which can definitely hamper things. Challenges may arise from having to ensure secure data access from multiple devices at multiple places at all times. You have to figure out how to have a high-performing and secure environment that doesn’t destroy the cost saving and the revenue opportunities associated with employees and customers using their own devices to interact with you when they choose.

The Difference Between Data Backup and Disaster Recovery

Whether your company is big or small, it is really required and totally recommended that you backup all of your data on a regular basis. It is imperative that things like customer information and transactional data is fully protected. Not only is losing the data a complete disaster in itself, but being unable to get it restored in a timely fashion may have even more disastrous consequences. So, the question is, do you go with data backup or disaster recovery? You can’t really make that decision until you know what the key differences are between the two.

Data Backup

Data backup is definitely the simpler way to go. If all you really care to do is bring back your data in the event that you lose it, then data backup is just fine. Data backup basically just gives you the ability to retrieve your lost data and load it back into your systems to get your IT service back on track. Data backup periodically saves your data to a secure location and brings it back to you when you need it. This is usually done through another computer, tape backup, or cloud. Reasons that you may need this type of protection include theft or break-ins, employee accidents, or a technical issue like a crashed hard drive. In the event of one of these issues, data backup can easily restore your lost data.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery is a much more complex way to protect your data, but don’t be fooled by the name. Just because it has the word disaster in its name doesn’t mean that it is only used in major disasters. It works similarly to data backup, just in larger cases. Not only does it protect your data but it protects your entire computing environment, including applications, networks, and all systems. If your main environment is unavailable you can still access everything. Disaster recovery provides you with a temporary environment where, on top of loading all of your data, you can still run and rebuild your whole IT service until your main one is back up and running. You can look at it as a complementary lender until your primary one is fixed.

Which One is the Better Choice?

Data backup is great, but you’re much better off upgrading to disaster recovery so that you have the fullest and best protection that there is for your business. Time is of the essence when it comes to disasters of any size, and disaster recovery is the quickest and most effective way to get your business back on track. Disaster recovery basically mirrors your whole system and gets your data restored within a very short time frame, possibly even just minutes.

 

Check out this video that also highlights backup and data recovery.

It’s hurricane season again… How is your disaster preparedness?

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Hurricane season is upon us, and at this very moment a rather nasty one is heading up the east coast of the United States. Will it continue to the east as predicted? Probably. But that’s not a reason to be unprepared. Read more

Cyber Criminals Target Smartphones

Identity theft is a growing threat to our personal financial security, especially as personal digital devices have become ubiquitous in our society. Most consumers are familiar with threats against their PCs and laptops, and have taken steps to protect their computers. But smartphones are the newest targets for cybercriminals, and many people are unaware of the threat to their personal information via this most personal of devices.

 

Why Are Smartphones Being Targeted?

Smartphones store a huge amount of personal information, including banking information, credit card numbers, and passwords for the many accounts we access regularly on our phones. Recently it has even become possible to pay for things with only a smartphone, making it almost equal to a wallet in monetary significance. While this is extremely convenient, it has also made the phone an all-access target for cybercriminals.

Most smartphone users do not utilize anti-malware protection or other security measures. In a 2014 survey by Consumer Reports, only 14% of Americans had any kind of anti-virus app on their phones. In addition, many smartphone users are not aware of how modern malware operates and your phone may be running malware without you noticing any difference in the way the device works.

 

How Is the Information Being Accessed?

There are many ways cybercriminals can obtain personal information from a smartphone. Downloading an app with malware inserted into the code is one of the most common ways hackers can access a smartphone. Once the malware is working on your device, it can record your contact lists, passwords, and frequently visited websites, and relay them to an outside party. Malware can also monitor your emails and text messages to obtain private information.

Phishing scams are also much easier to fall prey to using a smartphone. Due to the small screen size and the frequency that a “mobile site” will look different from the desktop version, it can be tough to make sure a website is authentic. Cyber criminals can construct a fake website which prompts users to enter passwords or account numbers, and to which users are directed via a URL in an email or text message. This mimics the widely used two-factor authentication system, which helps online users protect their accounts.

 

What Can Users Do To Protect Themselves?

Some smartphone users are savvy enough to employ basic security measures: setting the phone to lock when not in use, erasing data if an incorrect password is entered too many times, or enabling GPS location. However, these actions will only protect the phone if it’s lost or stolen. Modern thieves can steal from your phone without it ever leaving your possession.

The most important measure to take is to install an antivirus app from a reputable source. This is vital if your phone uses the Android OS, which is the most-hacked platform. Avast and 360 Security have both been ranked consistently high for free Android security apps. Research and read the reviews of any app before you download; this will reduce the risk of hidden malware. Avoid downloading apps from third-party sites, even if they are cheaper.

How Hosted PBX Can Save Your Business Time and Money

If your business and your accounting sheets are feeling a little sluggish lately, you need a boost. In today’s market, the shot of energy comes in the form of Hosted PBX. Businesses are breaking free from the office, jumpstarting productivity, and saving critical cash in the meantime. If your company isn’t onboard with Hosted PBX, it should be. Discover the many ways in which Hosted PBX is ready to save your company time and cash.

 

Flexibility on the Go

The modern company is a mobile company. Hosted PBX permits such flexibility necessary for a company to grow locally, domestically and possibly internationally. Hosted PBX allows for telecommuting, remote access, online collaboration, and communication in multiple locations. Wherever workers are located, as long as they are connected to a network, they can work as if they are sitting right in the office. This allows companies to tap into the best talent in the field to further the business.

 

Proactive Security and Dependability

Hosted PBX takes a proactive approach to safety and security. Hosted PBX comes with a team of experts that monitor, prevent, and address security and technical issues around the clock. Support is streamlined with a special portal that provides users with instant access to critical help that won’t result in downtime. The provider handles all of the company’s Hosted PBX issues remotely without charging for service calls and repairs.

 

It Grows with Your Company

Hosted PBX is scalable to accommodate your business’s current and future needs. Adding lines, removing lines, changing lines and hiring remote workers can all be accomplished via the web portal. So, if you need to add one line or 50, you can do so without interrupting daily operations or busting the budget.

 

Reduces Operational Costs

Perhaps one of the most attractive features is the opportunity to save money with Hosted PBX. Hosted PBX reduces operational costs by switching services over to the cloud and requiring companies to pay only for the lines they need. Because a Hosted PBX system uses the internet to communicate, the cost for a traditional phone line reduces and energy costs dip without all of the extra software and devices operating during the day. With Hosted PBX, you also have access to programming services, upgrades and repair services without paying for each service individually. The best part about it is “hosted” simply means you are renting the equipment, so you don’t have to shell out a ton of money to install, upgrade, or purchase the equipment.

 

Cohesive Device Communication

Cohesion and communication are two terms for which companies strive. Both are achieved with better interoffice communication and, in today’s market, improved device communication. Hosted PBX systems are loaded with calling features that promote better communication among employees, and between employees and customers. Hosted PBX also accommodates various operating systems between multiple devices. This handy feature ensures everyone remains connected, despite their locations and the type of OS being used.

Hosted PBX is one of the best decisions a company can make and it can do so without the risk looming over the spreadsheets and daily operations. With Hosted PBX, business can start expanding and save money while doing so.

5 Ways Cloud Service Providers Improve Employee Productivity

There seems to be an ongoing debate over how to increase productivity in the workplace. One school of thought leans toward cracking the whip by micro-managing intrusively. The other end of the spectrum leans towards being gentle and offering incentives to boost productivity. Whether you’re hard-core on one end or somewhere in the middle, it is important to utilize technology in your daily operations in order to stimulate productivity.

Cloud service providers are an excellent option for businesses that can completely overhaul how your company operates. Businesses with cloud service providers are giving rave reviews about the technology, even expressing how the cloud has exceeded their expectations. Not only will it cut costs on hardware, software and maintenance, employees are able to get more work done. Here are 5 ways cloud service providers improve employee productivity in the workplace.

 

Increased Access

There are some days when commuting to the office from home is not a possibility. Perhaps there is a snowstorm, heat wave, or other severe weather. Maybe someone has a sick child at home and they will not be in for a day or two. With a cloud service provider, employees are able to work remotely and access data from home or anywhere with a good Internet connection. Productivity is increased because there is no time lost and the employee is not faced with the stress of trying to commute.

 

Better Usage of Workforce

Servers on premises require an IT team dedicated to maintaining the server and making sure it functions properly. This is not necessary with cloud servers, which means the IT department can be relocated to take care of core operations instead of waiting around for things to break. The IT team can also be trained to handle other types of tasks that add to the company’s value, or they can be let go to cut costs.

 

Better Communication in the Office

With a cloud service provider, communications are improved amongst employees and their superiors. Instead of having to go to the boss every time there is a question about a project, communications can take place without having to leave the desk, saving on down time. Any type of software, app or web service can be deployed on the cloud as well, which leads to a cleaner user interface and more individual points of communication. With better communication, a more cohesive work environment is created that leads to more productivity.

 

Data Backup

Every piece of data that is hosted on the cloud is backed up. This allows a company to work continuously even in the event of a natural disaster. Employees are able to work in a happier and stress-free environment when they don’t have to worry about losing important information.

 

Scalability

Cloud service providers offer scalability for when your company grows or chooses to downsize. Employees can generate any amount of data without having to be concerned about space, allowing them to continue working without sacrificing precious time that is better spent on productivity. There is no longer a need to ask the IT team every time there is an issue since they can be troubleshot online. The cloud can handle it all.

 

If you have any questions about setting up a cloud service provider for your company, contact us today! Our friendly and highly qualified team is ready to assist you.

Technology in Schools

How Children Benefit from Having Reliable Technology in Schools

The subject of technology in schools is somewhat controversial. The costs to keep the most recent Wi-Fi bandwidth, computers, tablets, and other devices can certainly add up. However, schools can’t keep teaching the way they always did in the past. A teacher-centered model of the classroom is becoming obsolete. While technology is not meant to replace a teacher, it can be used as a tool to achieve learning that was not possible for past generations. Here are some of the benefits of investing in the latest and most reliable school technology for students.

Technology for Teachers

A teacher who is well-trained in classroom technology has the ability to reach students in new ways, open their minds creatively and help them in their own learning. With tools like apps, interactive websites and with so much versatility, technology can be customized to each student. Instant data about their progress can be provided, and lessons can be adjusted accordingly. It is important that when a school district invests in the latest technology that the staff is properly trained. Otherwise valuable equipment is often overlooked and sits around collecting dust, instead of helping students learn in new ways

Scientific Technology in Schools

The United States is working to push science and technology in schools, especially amongst young girls who had often been overlooked in this area. Science and technology are closely related and generally become interwoven. New and reliable technology in schools can assist students to understand science and take ideas that were once confined to the pages of books and make them a tangible reality. The learning process becomes more interactive and in turn more memorable and intriguing to young minds. As technology continues to evolve we are able to understand it more, and this understanding often transfers to a better comprehension of science, and better results in the subject.

Assistive Technology in Schools

Assistive technology is an excellent tool that allows students with special needs to compensate for the disabilities that have often held them back. With inclusion becoming more popular and showing positive results, special needs children benefit greatly from reliable school technology. When these children have devices and programs that can provide material to them in alternative ways, they not only learn better, but their self-esteem improves. These students are able to participate in discussions and volunteer answers and opinions, when in the past they may have been nervous or unable to because they couldn’t understand the material. Reliable and updated assistive technology is especially important so these students are able to reach their true potential.

Technology for School Administrators and Staff

 Technology can save valuable time for the staff that is in charge of daily office procedures such as collecting attendance and student records. Instead of trudging through piles of paper, this data can be maintained in electronic format with better security. The district will be saving money on the cost of paper as well as helping the environment. Information can be quickly accessed by all departments with the use of networking and school inventory can be recorded and maintained on computers. Technology for school staff can create greater efficiency that trickles down all the way to the classroom level. When students are in a more relaxed environment lead by office staff and a principal that is not stressed by overwhelming paperwork, it allows them to relax and learn better.

Increase Productivity, Reduce Risk With Dynamic Technology Managed IT Services

As business technology continues to advance exponentially, more and more companies are finding it difficult to deal with daily IT issues. Companies are spending lots of money on outsourcing IT support when part of the system goes down or equipment breaks, which could better be spent on growing the business. This is why more and more companies are putting their IT support in the hands of a Managed IT Services Provider (MSP). The reasons are simple, when you work with a respected and reputable technology managed services company like Dynamic Strategies, you’ll increase productivity and lower risk. Let us explain how.

 

Increase Productivity with Managed IT Services

Businesses of any size can reap the benefits that come with a complete team of IT professionals at an affordable monthly flat rate. Dynamic Strategies will take the time to sit down with you and custom design an infrastructure for your business. We take into consideration your organization’s specific budget, goals and needs, to design a unique infrastructure that will increase reliability and productivity. We examine how your sales professionals, administrative team and the rest of your staff perform day to day tasks, how they communicate internally and with customers to help develop your custom infrastructure.

 

More Business and Less Downtime 

With our MSP you have 24/7 monitoring of your system. If there is a problem, we handle it immediately and you don’t have the downtime that goes with the old model of calling IT support to fix the problem and waiting around for it to be repaired. When your computers are always up and running, you will make more money because there is no downtime.

 

Instant Access to Consultants

With the old model of IT support, when an employee had a problem, they would have to go to the boss and get permission to pay IT support. With a technology MSP, anyone can ask for support at any time without requesting permission to use the company credit card. This also lends to productivity so your employees can get their issue solved and move on quickly.

 

We Work Proactively to Reduce Risk

When you have managed IT services, you’ve got IT support around the clock. Our company benefits just as much as your company does when you have no problems in your infrastructure. Businesses used to not know until it was too late that there was a security issue. With constant monitoring of your system, Dynamic Strategies is alerted any time there is even the slightest irregularity, and we can catch it before it becomes problem or there is a breach in security.

 

Less Risk With Custom Security Features

Included in your custom infrastructure is the latest in IT security. We make sure your network is constantly monitored, backed up and protected against hackers or a natural disaster. Since your intellectual property and data are the life blood of your business, we use a Unified Threat Management system to secure your business with anti-spam, firewalls, anti-virus needs and content filters. As part of your contract, your security is updated without the business having to do anything. We handle it all.

 

If you have questions about how a technology Managed Service Provider can help your business, contact us today. One of our knowledgeable team members will be happy to assist you.