Productivity: Employees Gaming at Work?

We got a call from a client. He told us that productivity in his warehouse had significantly decreased. Deadlines weren’t being met. He knew something was going on but didn’t know what. Their warehouse was in a separate building from their office. Four or five employees managed it.

Increasing your Productivity: Your MSP is omniscient when it comes to your network

As their managed services provider, we remotely logged in to their computers to search for clues. It wasn’t long before we found that World of Warcraft, a massive multiplayer online role-playing game, was installed on every computer. We scanned our logs and found that they were spending most of the workday playing it. They were basically having a daily LAN party on their company’s time.

Your MSP is omnipotent when it comes to your network

We told the owner what was going on and he was angry. He had us remotely log in and delete the gaming software. We re-configured the firewall with stricter rules. He reprimanded the warehouse employees and warned them that if it ever happened again, they could find another job.

Block the “myths, magic, and endless adventures” on company time

Increase productivity by blocking the “myths, magic, and endless adventures” of role-playing games and other time-wasting websites on company time. If you have problems with your employees wasting company time on video games, social media, gambling websites, or porn websites you have the power to block these sites through your firewall. If productivity is down or not what you hope for, your managed services provider can evaluate your computer logs to see if the problem resides here.

Schedule a free consultation with Joe or Fred if you don’t have a firewall or you need yours uniquely configured.

Read more about this productivity problem: Employee Internet Management: Now an HR Issue

Cybersecurity and Cloud Storage

I was managing a company’s network as their Managed Service Provider when we received a call that a folder with many of their files was missing in their online Microsoft 365 SharePoint. We investigated the issue and found that none of their files had been nefariously deleted. We also determined there hadn’t been anyone trying to hack into the system and steal their data. Yet, it remained a fact that their files were missing.

We continued our detective work, checking if any credentials had been changed, but everything seemed in order. No one from outside had accessed their network.

Accidentally Deleted or Moved

Finally, one of our technicians had a hunch that a current employee might have accidentally deleted or moved the file. After a little more investigation, we indeed found that had occurred. When an employee was moving his mouse across the screen, he had accidentally grabbed a file folder and dropped it into another folder. It had been difficult to solve this case, but with some very good detective work, we were able to restore the file folder to its original location.

Data Security & The Human Component

After this experience, I started thinking more about data security in the cloud. Even though large file service companies like Microsoft 365 have very secure cloud storage, what about the end-user – the human component? What happens when someone deletes the wrong file by mistake? How often does this happen? While most of these cases are accidental, what happens when an unhappy employee, who thinks they have nothing to lose, decides to take out her company’s file repository? Could they recover the data – their forms, spreadsheets, and intellectual property?

Data Retention & Backup

Fortunately, Microsoft 365 has a retention policy that your company can use. It is good for up to 93 days. That’s a really good start, but in some cases, it may not be enough. Your MSP should have a service to back up to your Microsoft 365 OneDrive and SharePoint. This is a great way to ensure you never lose your data, either to a mistake or to a disgruntled employee. The backup service your IT company can set up for you is automatic. It’s one of those “set it and forget it” programs, although it should be tested periodically. If you have Microsoft 365 or a similar service for storing documents in the cloud, consider incorporating this service into your network. It just might save the day for your business down the road.

For help with cybersecurity and data backup, scheduled a free consultation with Integrinet IT

VoIP Phone Systems – To Move or Not to Move

Deciding which phone system is best for your business takes time to plan, research, and shop. To make an informed decision, you need to know what your choices are and the pros and cons of each. The phone system you want is one that meets your business’ needs. Because your business is unique, what works for another business may not work for yours. But if you want to replace or upgrade your phone system, you will need to choose between a PBX and a VoIP system.

What is a PBX System?

A PBX phone system is the on-premise phone system that has been in use for decades. It only came with direct copper wire line-to-line connections but in recent years has more options for the circuit that connects to it. If connected to the phone network with analog or digital lines, you are physically connected through the exchange network.

What is a VoIP System?

With a VoIP system, voice signals are converted into packets of data that are transmitted over the Internet. That means when you call a client, these signals travel through your network and out to the Internet.

Don’t get confused with the different types of VoIP systems that are out there. There are the following three options to choose from:

  1. On-premise VoIP System, Self-managed (you manage this system yourself)
  2. On-premise VoIP System, Partner-managed (a provider manages this system for you, but its brains are located at your place of business)
  3. Hosted VoIP System, Partner-managed (a provider manages this system for you, but its brains are located in the cloud)

Another confusing point is that there are a variety of names people are using for VoIP. They are all referring to the same type of internet phone system. Here are a few of them:

  • Hosted VoIP
  • Hosted Voice
  • Cloud Voice
  • IP telephony
  • Internet telephony
  • Broadband telephony
  • Broadband phone service

Read more about what a VoIP System is.

The Plan: Questions you need to answer for your business

  • How many users do you have?
  • Is everyone centrally located or geographically dispersed?
  • How will they use your phone system?
  • What features are you looking for in a phone system?
  • What is your growth trajectory?
  • How much are you spending on your current phone plan?
  • What is your budget for your new phone system?

Comparing Costs

VoIP is the less expensive system compared to PBX. It requires less hardware, which ends up costing you less to install. You will need VoIP-enabled phones and a connection to the Internet. Your monthly bills are also lower with the VoIP system and your billing is less complicated because your Internet and phone bill are often combined.

Comparing Reliability

Direct copper wire line-to-line connections are always more reliable than Internet connections, which sometimes experience downtime or bandwidth limits. The quality of your VoIP connection will vary based on the quality of your Internet connection. If your Internet or power goes down, so will your phone system. PBX systems are set up independent of your internet.

Because of this, some businesses who choose VoIP will keep a few backup analog lines for emergency alarms that send signals to the fire or police department or for their fax machines that don’t work well with VoIP.

Comparing Flexibility

If you want more flexibility in terms of adding or removing users, choose the VoIP system. You can add as many users as your network’s bandwidth allows and increasing your bandwidth is usually an easier task than increasing PBX capacity.

PBX systems are not known for their flexibility. They are installed with the number of phone lines you initially choose. If your company grows and you need more phone lines or capacity, you will have to have a provider come out and install them.

A quality phone system that is compatible with your company’s needs is key to clear communication and productivity. We hope this guide helps you in your decision process of whether to go with a VoIP phone system or a PBX. If you have any questions or need further guidance, please give Fred (Idaho) or Joe (Utah) a call at (844) 400-0616.

Read a story about how our service engineers repaired a client’s VoIP phone system when they were experiencing Dropped VoIP Calls and Intermittent Internet Connection.

Dropped VoIP Calls and Intermittent Internet Connection

We had a new client in the construction industry. Before we started managing their technology services, they had issues with a weak internet connection and dropped calls. They had a VoIP phone system and it never seemed to work right. Their previous IT company had tried to resolve this problem by separating the phone and the computer networks, but their connection problems persisted.

When they changed their managed services provider to Integrinet IT, I was assigned as their service engineer. I investigated the problem and discovered that their DNS record was not set up correctly. Essentially their issues were caused by inattention to details. I plugged in the correct DNS numbers and their problem was solved. Now they have a reliable VoIP phone system and a strong internet connection.

Learn more about the technology available to you: What is VoIP?

About the Author

Steve Peterson is one of our service engineers in the Salt Lake City area. Backed by a team of ten techs, he services clients from Ogden to Payson. If you are considering an upgrade to VoIP, please give us a call at (844) 400-0616.

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a technology that allows businesses to make and receive phone calls digitally over the internet instead of using traditional telephone lines. The same computer technology that enables you to transfer data over the internet and through email also allows you to transfer your voice.

There are many names that are used to refer to VoIP phone services. The following is a list of just a few:

  • IP telephony
  • Internet telephony
  • Broadband telephony
  • Broadband phone service

What are the top reasons for upgrading to VoIP?

Why would your small business consider changing your phone system to a VoIP system? Some of the reasons that other companies have made the change are:

Increased Mobility

Traditional phone systems have individual lines, each with its own phone number. If your business is on-the-go or you have employees working remotely, connecting mobile phones with landline phones can be a hassle. As a result, productivity decreases. VoIP gives you the freedom to do business from wherever you are. You are not landlocked by your phone system.

Increased Availability

The best ability is availability. With a VoIP system, you can program your calls to ring in your office. If you don’t pick up after a few rings, the system transfers the calls to your computer or mobile phone. This enables you to take phone calls from your colleagues and clients wherever you are. Consequently, you will have less missed calls and missed opportunities.

A Variety of Features

VoIP systems allow you to:

  • forward voicemails to other team members
  • send voicemail-to-email transcripts
  • maintain face-to-face communication with your clients even when you’re out of the office
  • stay connected even in the event of a power outage or other natural disasters because calls are still forwarded to your mobile phone

Weighing the pros and cons of moving your company’s phone system to VoIP is a difficult and important business decision. Integrinet IT has knowledgeable consultants who are ready to assist you with choosing the best and most productive system for your business. They are available to answer any questions about VoIP you may have. Give us a call (844) 400-0616!

Read how we have helped our clients with their VoIP phone systems:

Read More:

The Top 6 Benefits of Moving to a VoIP Telephone System

What is VoIP? How Does It Work?

Innovative Features that will Increase your SMB’s Productivity & Save You Money

Ever wonder what innovative tool Microsoft is building into Microsoft 365 next? Is there something you wish it had or something that would help you be more productive? Maybe if you knew about a new option before it came out, you could create a strategic advantage for your team.  

We know that Microsoft is constantly improving its tools. New features come out that most businesses aren’t even aware of. I have had clients ask me for a technology solution to a problem and many times I tell them they already have it.  

Budget for Your Future

When your company is evaluating and budgeting for new tools, it’s important to know what Microsoft is working on developing right now. The Microsoft 365 Roadmap website provides you with this information.  It has three main sections:

  • In Development
  • Rolling Out
  • Launched

Within those sections, you can narrow down the search by variables such as:

  • Product (Work, Excel, Azure, Bookings)
  • Release Phase
  • New & Updated Features

Email Encryption Feature for Financial Firms

Recently, I sat down with a client who wanted to move away from their onsite exchange server for email and was considering Microsoft 365. As a financial firm, they needed email encryption. With their level of service, email encryption was an easy and inexpensive add-on. When I searched the Microsoft 365 Roadmap website for innovative email encryption tools, I found one that gave their users the ability to revoke or pull back an email already sent without asking an admin to do it for them. This turned out to be a valuable time-saving tool for their financial office that cost them next to nothing.  

If you need a feature and have been wishing someone would come out with it, check out the Microsoft 365 Roadmap site. If you don’t have the time, give your managed services provider a call. Our service engineers at Integrinet IT love to keep updated on Microsoft’s developments. As of today, September 23, 2020 there are 1,106 updates in the queue. We can help you find the tools you need to increase your business productivity. 

Microsoft 365 Roadmap Web Site 

Microsoft 365 Collaboration Abilities

Office 365 becomes Microsoft 365 

Recently Office 365 became Microsoft 365. For Enterprise levels, the features remain the same although Microsoft is adding features often. For Business levels, the name has changed, and collaboration and security features have been added.  As Office is still an optional part of the subscription, the main focus has turned to Collaboration. 

Microsoft 365 Collaboration 

With many employees now working from home, collaboration tools have become extremely important. Organizations need to stay connected with their employees who in turn need to stay connected with their client base.  

  • Video calls have replaced onsite visits. 
  • Project hubs have replaced long conference room meetings. 
  • Chat has replaced stop-by-office discussions.  

Organizations are finding they can be very productive if they have the correct tools. One of the most used and recognized tools now is Teams from Microsoft, which is part of Microsoft 365, previously Office 365. Teams added 31 million users in the month of April 2020 alone bringing the total users worldwide to over 75 million and growing fast

 With COVID-19 changing the way businesses operate, there is so much uncertainty about the future of in-person business operations. Collaboration from remote locations has become crucial to workflow. Knowing you have the tools to maintain easy and effective communication can provide your business with a sense of unity and security. Microsoft 365 has some features you may not know about that can benefit your organization. 

How Microsoft 365 Connects Your Team 

Have you tried the multi-user chat on Microsoft 365 Teams? Did you know that it enables interoffice calling, scheduling, and meetings? It also facilitates co-authoring and presentations. These features enable you to work from anywhere. You can collaborate with anyone within your company. They are simple to use and Microsoft provides excellent video training. Start training now: Get Started with Microsoft Teams.   

Added Value with Co-Authoring 

You can co-author within the Microsoft 365 environment with apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Here are some quick steps to get started: 

  1. Create a document in OneDrive or SharePoint 
  2. In your open file, click the “Share” button in the top right corner 
  3. Select the names or enter email addresses to share your file 
  4. Select permissions for this document – location and collaboration level 
  5. Click “Send” 
  6. The person you shared with can now work on the same file 

Link to: Co-authoring an Excel Workbook 

Meetings with Clients Outside Your Organization 

If you need to set up a video meeting with customers, it is now simple with Teams.  

  1. Click a button on your Exchange Home Ribbon or go to your Teams Calendar and select the time. A window will pop up for you to enter the email addresses of attendees, title of meeting and a place to enter an explanation of the meeting or agenda.  
  1. Send the email to your attendees. 
  1. Once received, it is automatically added to their Outlook Calendar.  
  1. With an addon feature you can include a phone number for people who are not able to be on a computer.  
  1. At the time of the event, click the link and you are in the conference. If you have the app for Teams, you can enter there, otherwise it will show up on a Windows Browser.  

Team Meetings – Instant or Scheduled Meetings 

Team meetings can be instant or scheduled. To begin an instant meeting: 

  1. Select the camera icon in the top right corner 
  2. Invite an individual or the entire chat group 
  3. To schedule a meeting: 
  4. Go to the calendar on Teams 
  5. Click on the “New Meeting” button in the top right corner 
  6. Fill out the form to invite members of your organization 
  7. Choose the time, date, and subject 
  8. Select the “Save” button and Teams will automatically send an invite to attendees and put it in their calendar 

See the tutorial: Instant and Scheduled Meetings Tutorial 

Meetings – Live Events 

Meetings on the Teams platform are simple to set up. They may contain as many participants as you would like (up to 20,000 for Live Events) and are especially effective when using the video feature. For Live Events: 

  1. Go to the Teams Calendar and select live new meeting 
  2. Choose who can attend – specific people/Groups/entire organization/anyone who receives the link/public 
  3. You can choose to record it for Producers and Presenters or for attendees 
  4. You can also choose to have a Q&A session 
  5. Select “Schedule” and you will receive an attendee link to send to anyone via email or Teams 

See the tutorial: Live Event Tutorial 

Using Teams Meetings is an effective form of business communication as they allow you to see facial expressions and hear voice inflections, which bring more meaning to the conversation. Additionally, you can get much more accomplished in a shorter time with a video meeting than with dialoging in a chat when you keep them on schedule and to the point. 

Microsoft 365 Portal 

When you launch the Microsoft 365 portal, you see the Office applications you use most frequently. The search feature at the top of the page helps you quickly find your apps, files, and contacts on 365. Additionally, links to the following files are displayed: 

  • Recent    Links to your most recent files are listed here. If you click on this tab, you can see when you accessed this file last, whether the file is a shared file, and what has been recently changed.
  • Pinned    Pinning the files you work on most frequently, gives you quick access to them under this tab.
  • Shared with me    These are files that have been shared with you.
  • Discover    This tab shows relevant items from your OneDrive, a 1TB per user individual file repository

To start working on your documents, select one of these file links or navigate to a file in your OneDrive App. All the changes you and your team members make to a document are tracked and updated.  

See the tutorial: Get Started 

These tools will bring great value to your organization. 

Combine your Microsoft 365 account with a superior managed services provider. Integrinet IT is a full-service IT company providing outsourced IT for small- to mid-sized businesses in Idaho and Utah. Our 22 years of experience equips us with the skills to strategically keep all the layers of your computer, network, and hardware systems safe from cyberattacks and running at peak efficiency. Never far from your organization, our service engineers provide a personal, responsive approach when and where you need assistance. 

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