Triple Cities Tech Blog

Triple Cities Tech has been serving the New York area since 2017, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Managing Your Business and Remote Workforce During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Managing Your Business and Remote Workforce During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Companies around the world have or are finding the need to send their workers home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. For many business owners, managing your staff remotely is a brand new paradigm. Here’s what you need to know.

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Managing Your Business and Remote Workforce During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Companies around the world have or are finding the need to send their workers home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. For many business owners, managing your staff remotely is a brand new paradigm. Here’s what you need to know.

First of all, it’s important not to panic. Many organizations have been offering work-from-home perks for years. Not only is it entirely possible to keep business running, but many businesses see a boost in productivity. A two-year Stanford study shows that in general, remote workers are as productive, if not more so, than those confined to an office.

Double Down on Good Communication Habits

Although we’re all supposed to be social-distancing ourselves to prevent our friends and loved ones from spreading and catching COVID-19, communication is still incredibly important. Managers and supervisors need to be kept in the loop from both sides: team members need to report up to them, and company updates need to be communicated downstream. Regularly scheduled department meetings and staff meetings should still all happen. Department heads should check in with their teams regularly.

Of course, business owners may get the intuition to check to make sure their staff is “on seat” and working, but if possible it’s better to show you trust your employees, and address problems with specific staff, have managers focus on them instead of the entire workforce as a whole.

Fortunately, there are plenty of applications available to make communication easier. These range from instant messaging tools like Google Hangouts and Slack, to video conferencing solutions like Zoom, Webex, and GoToMeeting. For businesses that utilize Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams is a solution included with each license. G-Suite users can use Google Hangouts for group chatting and internal conferencing. Triple Cities Tech can help you set any of these up with your staff.

One final thought: remember that many of your employees may be feeling pretty isolated, and even lonely. Keeping that structure with regular staff and department meetings can help keep people feeling connected.

Staff can Make and Receive Work Calls from Home

Beyond communicating internally, you’ll likely want your workforce managing the phones even from home. Fortunately, with many VoIP systems, this is relatively easy to do. Every VoIP solution is going to vary a little, but most offer the ability to make and receive business calls from any computer, laptop, or smartphone. It doesn’t require additional hardware (other than perhaps a good headset) and it gives your staff the ability to make calls from their work number instead of a personal one.

They still get the same capabilities they would at the office: call recording, forwarding, voice mail, conferencing, and more. The key is they can handle it all from their personal device. Of course, traditional desktop phones and handsets are available too. On top of that, VoIP can often save a little money when compared to traditional phone systems.

If your business isn’t using VoIP, it’s time to consider making the switch.

IT Security is More Important Than Ever

Let’s say you have 25 users and 25 workstations. You control those workstations; you have them monitored and maintained, and you have network policies pushed to them to prevent things from getting out of control. If those 25 users start working from home, suddenly you are contending with at least 25 endpoints that you don’t control.

There are a lot of variables at play here. Who uses the computer at home? Are kids on it? Is it the family computer? What kind of security does it have? It’s impossible to say, but it’s more than likely things aren’t as sterile as they are at the office.

Secure Remote Access via a VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is one of the best ways to protect your company’s data, and it is useful in a lot of scenarios besides just working from home. A VPN allows users to remote into the work network securely from anywhere with Internet access. It encrypts the traffic so data sent to and from the office can’t be intercepted. The VPN also gives users access to all of the applications they would normally have while they are at work.

Upgrade the Free and Consumer-Based Antivirus

Home antivirus solutions aren’t as hardened as centralized enterprise-level solutions. Sure, they do the trick when a family member picks something up while surfing the web, but if your business is trying to meet industry compliance standards, you’ll need something better suited.

You might want to consider extending your company antivirus to home systems that will be accessing the network. This may also include rolling out firewalls to ensure each user has the same security they would normally have while at the office. You’ll want to talk to the IT security experts at Triple Cities Tech to determine what you really need to do.

Issue Out Company Hardware

You might even want to consider giving certain individuals (or your entire staff) work devices. This may sound like a drastic, costly move, but many organizations supply mobile employees with a laptop that the company controls and manages. We’ve seen organizations offer compensation if an employee buys their own personal device and allows the business to set it up like a work device.

This might not be a great option for the pandemic that we’re in the middle of, but something to consider for the future, if working remotely is something you want to offer for the long term.

Security Education is Critical

Your staff will still run into the same pitfalls at home as they would in the office. This includes spam and phishing attacks, poor password hygiene, and traditional user error. Make sure your workforce understands the threats out there and how to circumvent them. No amount of security infrastructure is going to stop a user from reusing a password or falling for a phishing email other than training, training, training.

This Pandemic Is a Disaster That Your Business Needs to Overcome

We talk about disaster recovery and business continuity all the time. We always use examples like floods and fires to represent a disaster, but COVID-19 fits the definition as well. It’s disrupting work and putting a huge strain on business in general. Business continuity is more important than ever.

It’s critical that you take preventative measures to minimize any additional risk to your business. That includes ensuring that your data is backed up and stored both onsite and offsite and is tested. 

In fact, being able to send your employees home to work is part of a solid business continuity plan. The whole idea behind a business continuity plan is to keep the lights on during any type of unforeseen disaster, and being able to walk away from it intact.

Equipping your workforce with the tools and best practices to keep operations running is critical, and we are here to help. Give Triple Cities Tech a call at 607-341-7500 and ask how we can help equip your workforce to safely, securely, and effectively work remotely.

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Coronavirus: A Threat to Your Staff, Cyberthreat to Your Operations

Coronavirus: A Threat to Your Staff, Cyberthreat to Your Operations

COVID-19, or coronavirus, has been a major global health concern over the past couple of months. At this point, it is clear that this disease could have serious impacts on the workplace. We wanted to provide a brief rundown of good workplace and network health practices, as well as a few pointers on how you can handle health-based employee absences.

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IT Problems Your Managed Service Provider Can Solve

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Unlike quick-fix IT relationships, a managed service provider isn't there just to solve short-term problems and leave. Your managed service provider is your IT's mountain Sherpa, there to guide your business through the ever-changing technology landscape.

Like a mountain guide, your managed service provider gives you a detailed route that will help your business climb to new heights. The secret to a great business is avoiding the pitfalls, dead-ends, and traps inherent in bad IT.

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Avoiding Growing Pains — Tech Tips for a Thriving Business

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Maybe you started your business in a basement or home office. It was just you at the beginning. Then, your service or product gained traction. The number of staff grew, and you moved into an office. It’s amazing how far you’ve come. Better still, your business continues to grow. It may be time to consider some of these tech tips to help your thriving business.

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Time for What Matters: Essential Windows Shortcuts

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The average person spends 90,000 hours at work. These hours can cost us sleep, affect our mood, and cause us to gain weight. Oh, and work can cause stress, too. We can’t give you a “get out of work free” card, but these essential Windows shortcuts will help you save time.

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Protecting Your Customers and Your Business Too

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Security and privacy are at the very top of our priorities when considering business IT. Major data leaks are in mainstream news on a near-daily basis and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of customers are impacted every time they happen. Our number one goal is to make sure our businesses are kept out of danger.

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Locking Up Cyber-security with a Managed Services Provider

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Cybercrime is not the most costly of illegal activities. That dubious distinction goes to government corruption, followed by drug trafficking. Cybercrime comes in third. Yet cybercrime does take the top spot when it comes to numbers of victims. A managed services provider can help.

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Business Continuity Planning

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Business downtime can be disastrous. Working with a managed service provider, your business can prepare for the worst. For one, cloud-based backups drive an efficient returning to business as usual. Lets examine what disasters might happen and all that a business continuity plan can offer.

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Why (and How) SMBs Should Strategically Adopt Technology

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There is no question that a small business can benefit from technology, as has been proven time and time again. However, an issue can arise if a business bites off more than it can chew, so to speak, and ultimately creates a spike in costs. A responsible business owner will resist this temptation and prioritize the solutions they need over the ones they want - building profitability and generating capital needed to make other improvements.

In this blog, we’ll examine some of the implementations that can deliver a good return on investment to a small business.

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Is Your Cloud Solution Actually a Money Pit?

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The cloud has proven to be an extremely useful tool for the modern business. Not only does it provide anywhere-anytime access to applications, processing, storage, et al; it also delivers those products as a service, allowing you to budget for recurring costs rather than major upfront ones. This provides your organization with functional, supported, and secure computing environments that eliminate a lot of the support costs that traditional computing environments require. It sounds like a perfect scenario for small and large businesses alike, but things aren’t always what they seem, as a lot of cloud users have found that they have incurred several hidden costs by using cloud platforms. Today, we take a look at these hidden costs.

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How to Avoid Becoming the Next Data Security Cautionary Tale

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Data security isn’t a matter to be taken lightly, as too many businesses have found out the hard way. Unfortunately, there are far too many simple ways to correct common security issues - enough that it’s foolish not to do so. We’ll review a few ways to fix security issues, after discussing one of, if not the, most egregious security failings in modern history.

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When it Comes to Security, Two Factors are Better Than One

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The password isn’t nearly as secure as it used to be. Hackers have begun to take advantage of extremely powerful solutions designed to brute force their way into accounts by using software to rapidly guessing thousands of passwords per second, making it extraordinarily difficult to prepare yourself for them.

What’s the best way to guarantee that passwords aren’t going to be the downfall of your company? A great start is by taking a close look at password best practices and two-factor authentication.

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4 Ways a Managed Service Provider Can Help Your Business

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How much does your business rely on technology to keep your organization running forward? As business technology becomes more complex, it’s becoming increasingly popular for organizations to have their own internal IT departments to manage and maintain it. Yet, small businesses don’t often have the necessary funds for such a feat. How can your company afford quality IT service? You can start by pursuing managed IT solutions from a managed service provider.

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Knowing, and Planning For, Your Organization’s Compliance Burden

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Despite what detractors say, regulations are in place for good reason. They typically protect individuals from organizational malfeasance. Many of these regulations are actual laws passed by a governing body and cover the entire spectrum of the issue, not just the data involved. The ones that have data protection regulations written into them mostly deal with the handling and protection of sensitive information. For organizations that work in industries covered by these regulations there are very visible costs that go into compliance. Today, we look at the costs incurred by these organizations as a result of these regulations, and how to ascertain how they affect your business.

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A Look at Business Computing Costs: Cloud vs. On Premise

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Profitability is less the measure of being able to turn a profit, and more the measure of how much profit you can make. For the successful small business, the integration of technology can dictate what kind of annual margins you are looking at. For the new company, however, it can be something even more critical: the difference between setting a course for success, or wallowing in failure. Today we analyze the cost difference between hosting your IT in-house, or choosing to host it in the cloud.

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Is Data a Commodity? Maybe Not, but It Is an Asset

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The late American author Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.” Written in the 20th century, it has been put in practice by 21st century businesses. As the Internet has grown, the amount of companies expanded, and the amount of data that those companies collect has grown exponentially, especially now that there is a market for such data.

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News & Updates

We are proud to announce the launch of our new website at www.triplecitiestech.com. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, provide more information about our services for prospective clients, and share important IT news and events. We hope you enjoy it!

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Learn more about what Triple Cities Tech can do for your business.

Triple Cities Tech
1109 Monroe St
Endicott, New York 13760