CCS Delivers Value Through Education as Well as Tech

The whole premise of managed services is to get ahead of problems ? to prevent them before they occur. This is accomplished with proper monitoring and management of IT assets, but since some problems are caused inadvertently by user actions, it?s important to address that as well ? through education and training.

In a modern office, just about everybody has a computer on their desk. But that doesn?t mean everyone in the office is particularly tech-savvy. Many people don?t have an affinity for technology and only want to know enough to do their jobs.? It benefits the company, the employee and the IT support staff (internal or third party) to invest in some regular employee education. Here are two good examples:

Malware Prevention

Cyber criminals have learned to exploit na?ve users with clever emails that look legitimate, but contain malware payloads or have links to infected sites. The recent ransomware outbreak was made possible principally by users? unwitting cooperation.

Awareness of Productivity Tools

Productivity software suites are updated regularly, but users rarely take time to explore added capabilities, preferring instead to use the features they are accustomed to using. But software companies don?t do the updates just to provide snappier user interfaces ? they add interoperability, shortcuts and more powerful collaboration tools. Many of these go unnoticed by office workers, and so the company does not get the benefits of the improved technology.

Education is the way to close the gap, but many business aren?t keen on the notion of sending their staff out for lengthy training. In some cases, deep-dive isn?t what is really needed. Instead, training can be a little more informal, focusing on highlights and ?tips & tricks?.

When it comes to networks security, the training should be mandatory, consistent and refreshed periodically. The stakes are high, but training can greatly reduce the threat of user-enabled malware infections, especially when coupled with good technical security measures.

Clare Computer Solutions offers educational information in several forms ? educational events, on-site training and through our website. We urge you to take advantage of these for your company?s benefit.

Don?t Ignore Your Desktops In Disaster Recovery Plan

Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. An event that renders your office unusable qualifies as a major disaster, and dealing with that should be a major focus of your disaster recovery (DR) plan. Having a server fail would have a widespread adverse effect on your business too, so there should be?schemes in place to mitigate that risk on your business.

What about the desktop computers in your office?

In today?s business world, workers use a variety of devices to do their jobs ? computers, laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

But for most office workers, the desktop computer is where they do most of their work, and despite the proven wisdom of having important data centrally located, a lot of important data is still being stored on those desktop machines.

What constitutes a disaster for a desktop workstation?? Here are two common examples.

Hardware/operating system failure ? Desktop machines have steadily improved in quality and come down in price for years, but they still fail. One unfortunate side effect of the lower price of these devices is, it often isn?t worth the trouble to spend much time trying to fix one when it breaks.

Workstation becomes infected by malware ? The variety of ways a computer can become infected with malware has grown both in number and sophistication over the years, and despite anti-virus or anti-malware programs, sometimes a desktop machine becomes unusable due to infection, and getting rid of the infection may become more costly than replacing the machine.

Regardless of the lower out-of-pocket costs for a replacement workstation, the loss in productivity while purchasing and setting up a new machine, and the cost of data lost forever all affect a company?s bottom line. An office with say, 50 desktop users is likely to have one or more machines acting up at almost any given time. What can be done to mitigate this?

Desktop backup and imaging is very cost effective. In this scheme, software backs up all the desktops? images (usually to a local Network Attached Storage device). Then,?if a user?s machine gets infected, the machine can be re-imaged to a backup dated prior to the infection. If a desktop machine fails completely, that backup image can be used to set up a replacement machine, in less time than starting from scratch.

There are all types of disasters, and thankfully, technology exists to minimize the effect they can have on your business. Clare Computer Solutions?is managing hundreds of desktop machines protected in this way, and we have seen it pay for itself time and time again. Contact CCS today to get your workstations covered by image backup.

Offices Without Walls – The Mobile Workplace Revolution

Advances in cloud and mobile computing technology have made it possible to have an office without walls ? something that would not have seemed possible just a few years ago.

Local Area Networks (LANs) revolutionized work within offices because they enabled everyone on the network instantaneous access to the same applications and data. Now this capability is not even limited to a physical office.

The Mobile Workplace

Advances in mobile technology, security tools, and cloud services, along with falling costs for bandwidth, have enabled companies to think outside the office. They can now extend the work environment to wherever workers happen to be. Wide Area Network (WAN) technology is affordable for even small and medium size enterprises now.

The upside to this revolution is workers don?t necessarily have to commute to work each day, and they can be more productive when traveling. In addition, companies can make more resources available for satellite offices.

Along with the obvious benefits, though, is the need to ensure that company data is properly protected and that remote workers work experience is optimized, and not bogged down by bandwidth or latency issues.

Here are three things to consider to when planning to take advantage of the modern mobile workplace.

Make Sure Remote Access is Secure

This seems so obvious it hardly bears mentioning. But remember, your data is not just traveling over wires within your office anymore – it?s in the air and in the cloud. Use connection methods that employ strong authentication processes and encryption. Data needs to be secure while in transit and when it?s stored. Your industry may have specific regulatory or compliance requirements ? take these into account as well.

Make Sure Applications Are Optimized for Remote Use

Not all applications are cloud-ready. Others require very specific access methods to be usable via remote connection. To enable remote work for travelers and satellite offices, you will need to examine all the applications and data required for your business and make determinations as to the best ways to remotely access them, from a usability and security standpoint.

Make Sure Employees are Trained for Efficient Telecommuting

In the office, workers often save files locally to their PCs, which is OK if that?s their only work device. Once they try working outside the office building, though, some or all of those files may be inaccessible remotely. To make workspaces mobile, data and applications need to be centralized in a place that is (securely) accessible from anywhere. Policies can be set up to make it easier for employees to save things to a network drive rather than a local drive, but helping the employees understand where they?re saving things will help, and also reduce your IT support costs.

There?s no reason why your business can?t reap the benefits of mobile computing. Clare Computer Solutions has been helping businesses take advantage of the latest technology since 1990. Contact us to get started!