Customized IT Solutions for Unique Businesses

Every business requires Customized IT Solutions because everybody’s business is different. The way people run their business and the layout of their buildings is different.

Industry Specific Tools

Everybody has different needs and different IT solutions. When you have this uniqueness between clients you can’t just use cut-and-paste solutions. My goal is to help tailor the IT solutions to the client’s needs.

Every business has industry-specific tools that integrate with their network in unique ways. We have clients who run equipment from imaging machines for x-rays to CNC machines (a computer-controlled cutting device). With each business, I have to consider the best, customized solution.

Customized IT Solutions: updating hardware & software is an investment

Another thing we run into a lot is that many of our clients invested a lot of money several years ago into their IT hardware and software when Windows 7 was still around. This makes it a challenge to come in and clean up their network. When a business has old equipment, there are a lot of things that need to be upgraded for it to run smoothly. I know it’s an expense for a company and it seems like it doesn’t directly profit them. It takes a portion of their budget and it’s hard to see the benefit of the investment.

Updating hardware & software is like maintaining the tires on a pickup

Their investment is kind of like the tires on a pickup. You can spend time with flats, downtime, and low traction. You can spend a lot of time and effort constantly fixing flat tires. Or you can invest in some new tires which don’t slow you down and keep your workflow optimized.

The tires on the truck don’t make the truck money but they are a crucial part of the truck that allows it to function optimally. They are vital for the truck to run, whether it’s coming or going.

Wi-Fi stability & connectivity issues at a school with a large campus

Recently, I assisted with restructuring a large network to improve Wi-Fi stability and connectivity speeds across a school’s large campus up in Idaho City. The students at this school constantly rely on assigned laptops. They have to carry them from class to class. And they reported that they were having nothing but headaches with their connectivity. Their speeds were slow. The signal was constantly dropping off.

Customized IT Solutions: the handoff

Because the structures of businesses’ buildings are always different, the way we have to run cable for Wi-Fi connectivity is also different. But, I’m constantly trying to apply the knowledge that I learn from one client to issues that another client has. When I troubleshoot, I’m always looking for something out of place and something that needs to be improved.

I recently worked on optimizing connectivity for another one of our clients who was having similar issues in their large warehouse. I applied the same solutions to the school district in Idaho City. When I went out to look at their campus, I noticed that a lot of their network was not optimized. So, I took a map of the school and mapped out the location of all the access points. I then restructured the way that their controller was set up in order to make the handoff smoother.

Handoff is when students with laptops walk outside of the bubble that the access point (AP) is capable of listening and talking on.

I corrected the handoff issues they were having by adjusting what’s called the RSSI or Received Signal Strength Indication. When the performance level goes down, the laptop knows that it needs to look for another access point.

Tailored IT Solutions: access points and laptops need to communicate

With the RSSI adjusted, the access points and laptops could communicate with each other. Now, when a student walks to the edge of a bubble and the laptop gets to that threshold of performance, the AP says, “Hey you’re out of my limit. You need to start looking for another access point because I’m going to drop.” The device will then respond, “Okay, is there another access point that I can connect to that I’m getting closer to?” The laptop searches for a closer access point and switches over to it with barely even a hiccup.

Monitoring outages mitigates major issues

I also wiped out and rebuilt their controller on the server, so it was easier for us to manage and monitor outages. After setting up remote alerts for their network, I could see their outages ahead of time. We are able to mitigate major issues because I call the school every time a switch or an access point goes down.

The outcome of our Customized IT Solution

Before, the students would avoid using the wireless because it was just too unreliable. After I implemented these solutions, the students are using the Wi-Fi and are more confident that it will work. Now, it’s actually helping students with their education and learning. They can actually complete assignments. The Wi-Fi is being used for what it was intended for.

Read more about Wi-Fi Connectivity: Wi-Fi Extenders for Business

“Thank you so much for your article about David Rucker.  Although, we have gotten to know him fairly well over the time that he has been our technician, it is always nice to know more.  He is very professional in all that he undertakes and is also a wonderful guy!!”

Debbi Mills-Havey
Cathedral Administrator
St. Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral

Customer Story: Business Communication & Collaboration

Improve your business communication & collaboration

Clifton Coffee Roasters (CCR) was the first specialty coffee roaster to adopt the Teamwork solutions from the Microsoft platform. This means they’re breaking new ground in communications methods for their industry. As the company expands, they depend on Teamwork solutions from Microsoft to:

  • manage their growth
  • drive innovation
  • help their employees connect in the most meaningful and productive ways possible

Want to increase productivity and drive innovation in your business? Check out this video to see how this company leads the way in business communication and collaboration innovation in their industry. And then contact Joe (Utah) or Fred (Idaho) at Integrinet IT to learn more by Scheduling a Free Consultation.

Click on the above image to view the video or here: View Video.

The number-one benefit of Microsoft 365 for us has been the improved access. We have access to everything, anywhere we are in the world, as long as we can get online.

Will Hawkins
President,
Allpro Construction

The actual way you can maximize your business productivity

OneDrive for Business enables effortless access to files, including 1 TB of data for each user. As a result, you and your employees can work together and share documents easily, wherever you are.

When you access and edit your documents offline, your updated files sync automatically when you’re back online. This enables you to just pick up where you left off in your document when switching devices.

View or revert to a previous version of your document thanks to automatic saving and file versioning.

In addition to that, you can preview more than 270 common file types right from OneDrive for Business. That means that you won’t have to open a separate app.

Furthermore, you can stream a video on demand without waiting for it to download.

Get more details here:

Crash Course in Office 365: How It Can Help You Grow Your Business

Project Management with Microsoft 365

Project Management with Microsoft 365

Situation 

A large nonprofit company with multiple locations in Treasure Valley, Idaho was struggling with its project management. They had been using notepads, email, and in-person meetings to create and manage projects. It was difficult for them to track and advance a project. As a result, no one knew where they were in the process. Subsequently, it was a challenge for management to complete projects in an ineffective and efficient manner. So, they called us to discuss some technology options that would increase their productivity.

The Problem

Inability to See the Bird’s Eye Perspective

Because they were not able to get an overall perspective of the components of each project, it took a long time to complete them. Consequently, this workflow was terribly slow and often frustrated everyone involved.

Ineffective Communication

Additionally, frontline workers were not being supported throughout the problem resolution stages. It was difficult to maintain effective communication on projects between offices and departments.

Disorganized File Systems

Moreover, mid-level managers were doing more work than needed. Each time they had to put a project down to work on something else, they would often lose their place. Upon returning to it, they wasted a lot of time finding their notes, documents, and where they had left off.

Inability to Make Decisions Quickly & Confidently

The upper management was not able to make executive decisions as quickly as they wanted. As a result, their resolution and implementation processes moved too slowly for their needs.

Our Solution

As their Managed Services Provider, we researched various solutions. We presented them with 3 to 4 options. After hearing about each one, they chose the following Microsoft 365 products:

  1. OneDrive and SharePoint for file storage
  2. Teams for chat, video conferencing, and project management

Impact on Project Management

Manage your Files with Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint

They started using Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint to save project files in one location. And everyone on the project team had access to them. With all the files in one place, each person always had an overview of the project. Team members that had to juggle multiple projects were able to move between projects more easily without wasting a lot of time figuring out where they left off.

Watch this SharePoint Tutorial to learn more: How to Use Microsoft SharePoint

Managing your Communication with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams gave them the ability to quickly communicate with each other about their projects. No need to compose another email for a short question. A secure conversation could be ongoing from a project’s start to end. Because Teams saves all conversations, they had the ability to easily review previous communications to bring them up to speed when returning to a project.

And with video conferencing available at a click of a button in Teams, face to face meetings were a breeze. Even with employees working remotely or at different office locations, they could easily and efficiently collaborate in video meetings.

Conclusion

Organizing communication and project files increased this company’s productivity. Microsoft 365 gave them the tools and we facilitated the install and management. They now are able to work more effectively and efficiently as teams to complete their projects. This solution has been a great relief for them and continues to save them time and frustration.

If your business is experiencing similar problems, schedule a free consultation. Joe (Utah) and Fred (Idaho) sit down with you to learn about your specific business needs. They are excited to help you find solutions that are right for your business. Give us a call (844) 400-0616.

Learn more about Microsoft Teams: Crash Course in Office 365

Switching from Analog to Digital Solutions

Before switching to a Digital Business, employees at Clifton Coffee Roasters used analog solutions to communicate. They physically printed out all documents, filled them out by hand, and then brought them into the office. In the office, they would get scanned and entered into a computer. Sounds tedious, right?

Making the Switch from Analog to Digital

Powered by Teamwork solutions from Microsoft, Clifton Coffee Roasters team members communicate better than ever. Now, their team members stay connected from wherever they are located. With flexible communication tools like Forms, employees can contribute and work together on shared documents from personal devices. No printing or scanning required.

Check out this video (or read the transcript below) to learn how this business switched from analog to digital business solutions by connecting their teams and resources with help from Microsoft solutions.

View the video…

Video Transcript

We used to use a lot of paper from invoicing to timesheets to engineering logs for our food accreditation service. In the roastery, we had to physically write a list or sign off check sheets every morning when we opened to show that we were safe for food production. And we’re able to take a lot of those forms and make them paperless.

And then the other big one was when I used to visit coffee farms, I’d be scribbling notes on the back of a notepad or on my phone and then trying to either send the information back or get it back to the office so we could just be able to tell the story. Microsoft has allowed us to record this information through forms and allow anyone in my team to get access to it in real-time.

Contact Us to Learn More

Contact us to learn how you can switch from analog to digital business solutions by connecting your teams and resources with help from Microsoft solutions.

Preparing Schools for Distance Learning

During Covid shutdowns at schools, we* prepared teachers and students for distance learning. Working as a team, we set up 25,000+ devices to send home with students.

Throughout the entire summer, we worked hard to set up the devices and get any damaged ones in working order. We sanitized them and provided extras for them to have on hand in case there were any problems.

It came down to the wire, but on day one, we set up a device for each student in the district to take home.

Additionally, we set up wireless hotspots for kids who did not have reliable internet.

We also trained teachers and staff to support their students. It was one of the toughest feats we had to tackle preparing this school district for distance learning. And it was very successful.

Links to Learn More

Learn more about Covid-19 Solutions

Read more about cloud solutions: Interoffice Communication: Working Remotely a Challenge?

Watch some videos provided by Dell Technologies on Transforming K-12 Education for the Digital Era

Welcome Michael Cohoe

We are excited to welcome Michael Cohoe, our newest Utah Service Engineer. He grew up in Sugarhouse – Salt Lake City area and loves the outdoors. White water rafting has been his passion for the past 20 years. He also loves mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. Education-wise, he graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. His work experience includes 12 years in the IT industry, specializing in IT for higher education as well as K-12. With a number of technical certifications already under his belt, he is currently working on Microsoft MCSA 70-740 for Windows Server.

*This post is a description of a project Michael worked on with his previous employer.

Crash course in Office 365: How it can help you grow your business

You may be already taking advantage of Office applications like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. But do you know that Office 365 gives you the capability to access content from any device? Do you know that it allows you to leverage the power of AI to create more impactful content? Check out this guide for more on how Microsoft applications can help protect your sensitive data and accomplish more in your workday.

View: Crash course in Office 365: How it can help you grow your business

Schedule your free consultation with Fred (Idaho) or Joe (Utah) for Microsoft Office 365 business support. (844) 400-0616

Customer Story: Clifton Coffee | Connect and Collaborate

Clifton Coffee Roasters was the first specialty coffee roaster to adopt the Teamwork solutions from Microsoft platform. This means they’re breaking new ground in communications methods for their industry. As the company expands, they depend on Teamwork solutions from Microsoft. They use these solutions to manage their growth, drive innovation, and help their employees connect in the most meaningful and productive ways possible.

End of Life (EOL) Server – Server Consolidation

SCENARIO: END OF LIFE (EOL) SERVER

A leading accounting firm in Treasure Valley, Idaho had been relying on six physical servers to run their daily business operations. Because many businesses rely on their services, a high level of productivity is crucial.

But their servers were reaching end-of-life (EOL) status. This meant that slow server performance was decreasing the firm’s productivity. It also meant that upgraded software was no longer compatible with the server hardware. Something needed to change.

THE PROBLEM

When we met with the accounting firm, we discussed the following problems:

  1. Their Servers had in fact reached End of Life (EOL).
  2. The company from which they had originally purchased the servers had not given them a warranty or support.
  3. Running six servers with six applications was very inefficient.
  4. The expense to maintain six servers was not economical.
  5. The servers took up a lot of closet space, consumed a lot of power, and generated a lot of heat.

OUR SOLUTION: SERVER VIRTUALIZATION

After meeting with them, we designed a plan that upgraded them to a more efficient system. Instead of running and maintaining six physical servers, we proposed that they consolidate the six into one. We did that by setting them up with server virtualization — converting five of their physical servers into software servers.

A software server is a virtual machine. Each one acts like a unique physical machine capable of running its own operating system and application.

IMPACT

After implementing this solution, we were able to improve our client’s position by:

Saving our client money.

In simplifying their infrastructure, we freed up resources they could use for other business projects.

Conserving physical space and energy.

Because they now have only one server generating heat, the firm disconnected one of their two air conditioners in their server room. They no longer need it. They are now saving on their energy bill and decreasing their carbon footprint on the earth.

Decreasing server maintenance costs dramatically.

In the end, they only had one physical server to maintain. They no longer had to pay for replacing old server hardware on the other five. And battery backup was greatly simplified, which will save them thousands of dollars when it comes time to replace it.

Increasing the performance of their system.

With upgraded processors and more memory, their new system is superior to the old, which has significantly improved their productivity

Completing the project during off-hours.

Our service engineer worked over a weekend so that he did not disrupt this company’s service and workflow. Because of this, their transition was seamless. When they returned to work Monday morning, they were able to hit the ground running.

Higher Performance & Lower Costs – Can’t Beat That!

Learn more about Cloud Solutions & Data Backup

Learn more about how Server Virtualization works

Comments from the Principal of the Firm

We are happy with the service we receive from you all, and our network upgrade was seamless. We appreciate our working relationship with you.

Business Communication Increases Net Profit

Most businesses want to build a solid organization that provides quality products and services for their customers. They hope to increase net profit over time. One major player in achieving this goal is efficient and consistent business communication. Here’s how that works:

Business Communication affects Healthy Business Relationships, which affect Productivity & Quality, which affect Net Profit - mobile version

Efficient and consistent communication builds healthy business relationships. With healthy business relationships productivity and quality increase. As productivity and quality improve, net profit increases.

Efficient Business Communication

First, in business, we are exchanging information, ideas, news, and feelings with our coworkers, customers, partners, and vendors. Efficiency is communicating as quickly as possible without compromising meaning, quality, or value.

Consistent Business Communication

It is also important to keep communication consistent. Consistent communication is about fulfilling the expected frequency of interactions and exchanges. It is also about maintaining frequency over time. The longer we can hold isometric in this one skill, the healthier our business relationships will be. Even when conflicts arise, we strive to maintain our communication to let others know that things need to change for a time.

What Disrupts Business Communication?

Disasters, illness, changes, growth, and life in general disrupt business communication. Even so, most businesses can establish patterns in their communication processes and stick with them. Well established processes increase our communication speed. When our teams learn a company-wide process, workflow is improved.

But when technology advances, so do the tools we use to communicate. If we don’t update our older communication methods with the rest of the business world, we lose our competitive edge. Other companies who choose to update their methods will increase their communication speed while ours remain the same.

Updating our processes slows workflow down because everyone has to take time to learn a new way of doing things. This is similar to Steven Covey’s seventh habit: Sharpening the Saw. It seems counterproductive at the moment because of the time it takes to develop the higher-level processes. But over time it increases efficiency. Yet it is also true that too much change is counterproductive. Finding the progressive balance is the key to success.

An explosion of Business Communication Tools

In today’s world, technology is changing, updating, and advancing at a faster rate than we have ever known before. With this growth has come an explosion of choices. Trying to maintain that progressive balance is harder than ever.

We now have a number of options to choose how we will communicate and store communication data:

  • Mail
  • Email
  • Social Media, Instant Message
  • Web Page Chat
  • Company Phone System & Voicemail
  • Cell Phone, Text, Chat
  • Video Chat & Conferencing
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – Contacts/Calendars/Appointments/Billing
  • File & Data Storage

When we want to communicate, we have a plethora of choices: Should we email or call? Use basic chat or a video chat? Invest in a CRM or manage our contacts, calendars, appointments, and billing in spreadsheets or individual applications? Should we bill through the mail or go paperless? Where should we store our files — In a file cabinet, on our computer, server, or the cloud?

Business Communication Plan

If we do not slow down long enough to make these choices, the result is slower communication. If we do not consciously make a communication plan of how we will use the technology at our fingertips, we will waste time trying to make those decisions anew over and over again. This scatters our minds, files, and data, which leaves us less productive in our workflow.

If you haven’t yet designed a communication plan for you and your team, take the time to do it. Go through each of the tools and determine how and when you will use them. Of course, there can be flexibility when it comes down to your personal workflow, but for the work that involves other team members, it’s best to stick with a communication plan in order to establish good habits, tried and true procedures, and best practices. When you establish these, communication quality, speed, and agility increase. Business relationships improve. And with that improvement, productivity and quality of products and services increase. More people purchase from you, opt in, follow you, subscribe, and sign up. Subsequently, your net profit increases.

But Which Brand Is Best?

To complicate things even more, we also have to choose from several different brands of hardware and software applications that offer the same tools. Which brand should we use? Which one is best?

Computers

  • Dell
  • Apple – Mac
  • Microsoft
  • IBM
  • Toshiba
  • Lenovo

Email Clients

  • G-Suite
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Apple Mail
  • Mozilla
  • Thunderbird

Internet & Phone

  • Landlines
  • AT&T
  • CenturyLink
  • Comcast

VoIP

  • Carrier SI
  • Zoom
  • RingCentral
  • Nextiva
  • Vonage

Wireless Carriers

  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon

Chat

  • Microsoft Teams
  • iMessage
  • Facebook Messenger
  • WhatsApp

Video Chat & Conferencing

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Slack
  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • RingCentral
  • Google Duo
  • Apple FaceTime

Calendar

  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Calendly
  • Apple Calendar
  • Google Calendar
  • Fantastical
  • Lightning

CRM – Contacts, Appointments, Billing

  • Salesforce
  • Zoho
  • Monday.com
  • Hubspot
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • QuickBooks
  • FreshBooks
  • Many Industry Specific Options

Cloud Storage

  • OneDrive
  • Google Drive/Cloud
  • DropBox
  • iCloud
  • Creative Cloud
  • Amazon AWS
  • Microsoft Azure

Should we test each of these choices out to assess the best choice? Even if they offer a free trial, every time we make company-wide changes, it costs time and money.

Learning from Other Businesses

Most businesses make these choices by communicating with other businesses similar to their own. They read reviews and go to conferences or online workshops. Many join peer groups and talk to other mentors to find out what has worked for them. They research these sources to identify the best practices for their industry. This step saves time and money. Yet, we still need to decide who to listen to out of all the advice we receive from our trusted sources.

Many of the choices businesses have in regard to technology and communication tools depend on their specific industry and business. Making the right choices is crucial to a company’s success. There are entire fields of study on this topic, i.e., Systems development life cycle (SDLC).

Involving stakeholders in the planning phase is very important, especially if it is a transformational change like adding Microsoft Teams verses changing your Internet Circuit. At minimum, each department head should be interviewed so their point of view and needs are heard, and nothing is missed. When all are involved in making decisions, stakeholder buy-in increases and there is greater motivation to incorporate the strategies into their workflow.

Individual Preference Vs. Best Practices

Additionally, there is plenty of room for individual preference. This means that some choices are similar in quality. The differences between them are negligible. Once the choice has been made and everyone is in agreement, efficient communication is predominantly achieved by sticking with the same brand and communication procedures.

But there are also many choices that are more universal – there are best practices for all businesses. For example, using a notepad, rolodex, ledger, file cabinet, and snail mail is usually not the most efficient way to communicate in today’s business world. Storing files and data on your desktop or laptop that you need to share and collaborate on with other members of your team is less efficient (and usually less safe) than storing them on the cloud and providing your co-workers with a link.

Managed IT Services – Experienced Mentors

Because Managed IT Service companies work with hundreds of small to medium-sized businesses, they know how to get your business set up with the most up to date communication tools. Many trusted IT service companies have worked with businesses in healthcare, logistics, construction, engineering, financial services, hospitality, community organizations, and more. As a result, they have the mentor experience to guide your business to quality tools that are most relevant to your organization. They can help you navigate the profusion of choices you have to make, which saves you money and time. It also gives you peace of mind

To recap, we know you want to build a solid business that provides quality products and services for your customers. We know the way to do that is to:

  1. Increase the efficiency and consistency of your communication
  2. Which helps build healthy business relationships
  3. Which in turn positively influences productivity and quality.

When all of these pieces are aligned, you will achieve real satisfaction in your business, have happy customers, and increased net profit.

Finally, if you need help in navigating the plethora of choices you have to make for your business, give us a call. Schedule a free consultation with either Joe (Utah) or Fred (Idaho) – (844) 400-0616.

Interoffice Communication: Working Remotely a Challenge?

Since COVID-19 hit, interoffice communication has been a challenge for many companies. Because it happened so quickly, most were not prepared to make the change from working in the office to working from home.

But there were some companies that had a business model with the flexibility to work remotely. They had already been working under at least a hybrid version of that model for years. These were more able to weather the shutdowns and restrictions. Others had business models in which they had to work from the office. They had not yet previously explored the remote possibilities.

As an IT Service company, we have technicians moving throughout the southern parts of Idaho and the northern parts of Utah on a regular basis. Our business requires us to be consistently remotely connected. So, we were one of the companies that had already incorporated the remote interoffice communication and collaboration tools.

Cloud SolutionsInteroffice Communication
& The Cloud

The number one tool that all businesses need to start with to maintain communication in a remote working environment is the Cloud. But what exactly is the Cloud? The Cloud is a large group of Internet Servers that store your data and services – software and applications. In the stone ages, everything had to be stored locally on your personal computer’s hard drive or on your company’s server. That made it so you could only access them from a specific location. But now, through Cloud Computing, data and services are stored on a network of computers that give you access from any location, even from your mobile phone.

The recent pandemic has made it very clear why using the Cloud is vital in maintaining business communication. Being a technology company, we have been using cloud tools like Autotask PSA and Microsoft Teams for a while.

Autotask PSA

A PSA is a Professional Services Automation system. It is a technology platform that provides a large array of communication tools like the following:

  • expense management
  • service desk
  • project management
  • CRM
  • Ticketing system
  • time tracking
  • invoicing
  • resource planning
  • business intelligence
  • notes and messaging

This system is crucial for our external communication with clients and our internal communication with service engineers. Other businesses use a similar type of software that is specifically created for their type of business. Medical offices use EHR (electronic health records) and EMR (electronic medical records). Accounting offices use accounting software packages. And fulfillment centers use logistics software.

interoffice communication

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is an interoffice communication tool that also provides a large array of tools under one roof. There’s no shortage of communication tools on the market, but we have found Teams to be the one bond holding it all together during this pandemic. In our experience, using multiple devices or programs to do our jobs is not as efficient as using one stream-lined tool. With Teams, we can track our processes and workflows, host conversations around certain projects or tasks, and share files. Additionally, you can access Teams on your desktop or mobile device.

The most useful features of Microsoft Teams for us have been:

Microsoft Teams Chat

Chat

Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing

Video Conferencing

Microsoft Teams Channels

Channels

Microsoft Teams File Sharing

File Sharing

Microsoft Teams Chat

Interoffice Communication through Chat

No matter where we are or what time of day, we can receive a chat message. It comes in exactly like a text message on our mobile phones, desktop computers, and laptops. If we’re working from home or in the field, we can still stay connected with the rest of our team members. If we can’t respond to the message immediately, we receive the traditional notification, and the message is saved in a secure location until we can. We can review the history of any conversation in the chat string.

Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing

Video Conferencing Is a Touch Away

We can start a video chat with the touch of one button. Microsoft Teams tracks Co-worker availability – free, busy, or offline. This way we know when someone can take our video call. And one really nice advantage is the video quality is high whether we’re using our desktop or mobile phone.

Video conferencing is also great for company meetings. It has a capacity of 250 people. It’s easy to invite someone from outside of our organization to a video meeting by sending them a link. They can access the meeting via their browser.

Microsoft Teams Channels

Channels Organize Interoffice Communication

A channel is a private group that only invited team members can see. We have set up channels for departments like service engineers, sales, and marketing. Additionally, segregating individual projects has increased our organization and productivity. Channels house all of our discussions and documents. It’s a lot easier to catch up on a project when it is all in one place.

Microsoft Teams File Sharing

File Sharing through Chat Facilitates Project Management

Because some team members are in Idaho and others are in Utah, we have to remotely collaborate on all projects. Through the chat we share out links, co-authored articles, agendas, pdfs, presentations, videos, images, screen shots, and spreadsheets. The files are stored in Teams by channel. We access them by clicking on the “Files” button in the top menu. During video conference meetings, we share the agenda and other files that we’re working on together. Teams makes communication and collaboration even better than face to face meetings.

Working remotely doesn’t have to be an overwhelming challenge. If your company is still struggling with it, please Contact Us Here or give us a call at (844) 400-0616. We can help you get set up with the Cloud services you need like Microsoft Teams to regain efficient interoffice communication and productivity.

Learn more about Microsoft Teams features and capabilities

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. VoIP phones are 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 phones. 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 Phones?

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 about how we helped one of our clients with their VoIP phone systems: Dropped VoIP Calls and Intermittent Internet Connection

Read More:

Article: The Top 6 Benefits of Moving to a VoIP Telephone System

Video: 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. 

Powered by Integrinet IT | © Integrinet IT 1998 - 2021