Whether your company is fully remote or only has a handful of remote workers, you need to insist on IT support for them. A big mistake many businesses make is ignoring the needs of remote workers, who are just like any other employees and require the same support. A remote worker’s computer can be full of viruses or open to cyber attacks; their security systems are usually sub-par and can easily be compromised. Here are a few of the things you need to ensure you offer your remote workers:
1. Their own device
Depending on their title and the amount of computing power they need, you should assess what device would suit them best. A general rule of thumb is: if you would have given them a device as an on-location employee, you should give them a similar package. This allows you to have greater control of their machine. Your IT support will be able to set up various tracking software to log time and monitor the health of their device.
2. System management software
Avoid all risk when it comes to the possibility of your remote worker’s device breaking. Your IT support should be able to install software that tracks the components of their computer. They can then be warned if their hardware is faulty and a part needs to be replaced. This is especially useful when a hard drive is about to fail. All the data can be moved off, with no loss of work.
3. Creating a secure VPN
A VPN allows your remote workers to access internal documents securely. It has the added benefit of helping them stay safe if they are working on an unsecured network. A VPN system should be set up for all of your employees if they access sensitive information outside of the office.
IT support will help you attain high levels of computer security. While your remote workers should be responsible for their own devices, you can still help them by setting up adequate protection. A cyber security attack can wreak havoc on your internal network if a connected computer is compromised.
If you don’t have a dedicated IT support team, then why not outsource it to us? We can work remotely to support both remote and on location workers. You’ll be able to relax knowing that your company is protected from the threats of the outside world.
You’ve done it – all the hard work and worry has paid off: you’ve managed to expand your small business into a medium-sized business. You’ve got more products, sales are through the roof and you can’t hire new staff quickly enough, but has your IT infrastructure kept up with your profit margins? While it may feel like you’re the same old start-up you were five years ago, providing IT support to a mid-sized business is a different challenge.
Increasing demands and challenges
As a mid-sized company, demands on your flexibility are likely to be great, and you may be faced with new problems out of the blue without easy answers. From the need for multiple locations to the sudden threat of cyber attack, to the demand for remote working, or simply the need for more infrastructure, you’re going to need good IT support that can anticipate these demands and solve them before they start to lose you time and money.
Longevity is a big new factor that you’ll come across. As a newly mid-sized business, you’re planning for ten or even 20 years down the line, so having that IT infrastructure in place early and ensuring it works in the long term is vital. With a proper adoption plan in place administered by IT professionals, taking on new technology and using it properly will be a smooth process rather than a wrench.
Anticipate problems and be prepared
Your newly stuffed order books rely on consistency, and downtime can mean the difference between repeat business and a one-off customer. You can’t be everywhere at once, and you now have more orders than you can track by yourself, so plans to anticipate and combat server shutdowns will avoid fines, and have those orders processed and shipped in no time.
Outsource your IT to maintain connections
Thanks to your growth, your employees are now everywhere – on the road and making sales, in the factory and even out at your foreign office breaking into new markets. Connectivity is vital to keeping it all moving. While you may not have the cash to do your own IT, outsourcing allows you to keep those vital connections up so that you don’t miss a single day or deal.
For more information on outsourcing IT for your mid-size business, contact us at Nimbus CS today.
Here’s a quick, get your head round, overview of Office 365.
Office 365 is a great solution for businesses looking to grow organically without laying down massive upfront costs. You can choose between three plans, meaning you can hand-pick features you actually need. Adding or removing users is a simple process that takes a few clicks. With Office 365, you don’t need to go through any complicated procedures or pay massive upfront costs to set the system up.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to sacrifice your offline copy of Office for cloud access. Include business-class email and various apps that will help streamline inter-communications within your company. Each package comes with 1Tb of cloud storage to facilitate online workspace environments.
Business Essentials: A bare-bones solution that only operates online. Business class email is included are extra applications such as Skype-for-Business.
Business: Offline office applications are included. Business-class email and extra applications are not
Business Premium: The full monty. Get business-class email and offline applications. A variety of extra performance-enhancing applications are included.
Business-class email solutions
Email is your lifeline to the rest of the world. When you run into problems, it could be devastating to a business of any size. There are three options when looking at email solutions for your business; shared, on-premises and hosted. Office 365 offers hosted email included in two of their business plans.
Shared: When you share a server with other businesses, you can quickly run into problems. The spam filters are generally poor, and your security can be breached. When growing, capacity can be reached, throwing your growth into disarray. If you are working in a cloud environment, remote access to your shared server can be slow and tiresome.
On-premises: Having your own email server on-site can be an expensive process. If managed incorrectly, your security will suffer. In the event of loss of power, or accidental fire, the server will go offline and so will your email.
Hosted: Hosted email is managed for your by Microsoft professionals. Setting it up is simple and hassle-free. Your upfront costs are minimal and included in your office 365 package. Remote access works smoothly, no matter where in the world you are. Hosted email offers the best scalability, safety and remote access – all at a lower cost.
With most businesses relying on their PCs for day-to-day and strategic planning tasks, the news that almost every PC on the market has a critical flaw is generating major headlines. Known as Meltdown and Spectre, two vulnerabilities are causing major concern.
Intel’s chips released across the last 10 years are vulnerable to a particular type of attack, which companies are rushing to patch before hackers find a way to exploit it. Intel says that chips from AMD and ARM are also at risk, creating an industrywide issue and a concerted response.
The issue is a kernel memory leak, with the details being kept a secret to keep the hackers at bay. What it does mean is that the issue affects all operating systems, not just Windows, so Linux and macOS systems will also need updates. The fix involves creating implementing Kernel Page Table Isolation, locking the processor’s pages away from users and potential hackers, and patches should be rolled out this week or later by OS vendors.
Unlike software weaknesses, fixing a processor flaw will take more than just a simple fix, with a performance hit likely a result, although most email/office/browsing workers would never notice that. Some reports say the impact could be up to 23% to 30% of CPU usage, which if your company uses PCs for high-end tasks, would be more noticeable.
Time to outsource your IT?
This is the latest bad news for poor PC users who are regularly flooded by attacks or patches. Most companies lack the staff or knowledge to handle IT issues effectively, which is why outsourced IT support and management is becoming popular.
Doing this allows the company to focus on its business tasks, and not worry about IT issues, with all support, IT security and network and server tasks handled by us to lighten the load and provide 24/7 constant monitoring and patch delivery.
That’s not just for situations like the latest Intel problem, but for routine antivirus updates, regular OS patches, to ensure your PCs are always protected and working at their most efficient. When it does come to a crisis, we can also help keep your business data secure and available if there is a technical or hacking problem.
Contact Nimbus CS for more information.
Many small and medium-sized businesses start with a few computers on their desks and add extra systems, printers, servers and so on as they grow and add new hires. Upgrades to those PCs see further investment in hardware, while company mobile devices add to the number of firmware, OS, security and other updates that need to be constantly managed, creating a constant merry-go-round for the IT staff.
Despite growing understanding of the cloud, many businesses still worry about storing data outside their offices or relying on an internet connection for their business operations. In reality, huge numbers of businesses operate cloud-only, or cloud-first, for their technology and data needs. And, as the savings become apparent, more are switching from desktop or server-based data systems.
In 2018, those savings and benefits will continue to become more apparent.
Cloud benefits for all types of business
Moving to the cloud helps any size of business minimise hardware costs, and reduce the capital cost of software from monolithic payments to monthly low-cost ones for accounting, productivity, design or other application types. Cloud also helps people collaborate better on documents, form teams or groups to work on projects through collaboration tools, and help them document every step of new processes, while providing a one-stop shop for human resources, on-boarding, payroll and other tasks.
Additional benefits include the ability to work on tablets and mobile devices, from anywhere, helping sales and remote workers stay in the loop. This also means if there’s a physical disaster in the main office like a fire, flood or accessibility issues, then people can still get on with work.
Finally, working in the cloud reduces the need for those pesky updates that can slow down office productivity and, in most cases, cloud updates bring more tools and features for free! Cloud services also mean the vendor can see how businesses use their products and can focus on improving the software to help with current business issues, not just what designers believed customers needed, which plagued office productivity tool design before the cloud.
In summary, none of this is massive news or rocket science, but if your company is still struggling away with a bunch of desktop apps and your IT staff are always overrun with updates and issues, the cloud could well be your business saviour in 2018. Get in touch to see how we can help.