How Unified Communications Helps To Increase Productivity

Unified Communications Blog

Unified Communications is an important business component meant to optimize processes and increase user productivity.  It is something that relies on successful technology in order to be utilized to the fullest. As technology has evolved, so has the efficiency of Unified Communications, which is why Five Nines has made it a part of who we are and what we do.

You may be wondering, what exactly is Unified Communications? What is UCaaS vs. Unified Communications? How does it increase productivity? Is it something we already have or is it something we need? Keep reading, and we will answer these initial questions for you. 

WHAT IS UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS?

Unified Communications is best defined by Gartner as the products (equipment, software and services) that facilitate the interactive use of multiple enterprise communication methods. In simpler terms, Unified Communications is used when technology is helping automate and unify user and device communications to streamline processes and improve the end-user experience. It's meant to make life easier.

The term Unified Communications goes beyond the definition above, as these solutions can be delivered in two different methods which we will break down for you below.

Not sure what this looks like for your organization? Click below to schedule a FREE technical walk through to better understand your IT environment, no strings attached! 

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UC VS. UCaaS

Simply stating the term Unified Communications (UC) represents on-site solutions requiring hardware and onboarding. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), however, represents cloud delivered solutions. UCaaS has been growing in popularity in recent years, and while both are consistently used, there is a difference between both solutions.

For organizations who already have an established IT environment, it is sometimes preferable to integrate a UC solution into that environment, as they already have the pieces in place needed for a successful transition. UCaaS makes things simple which other businesses also prefer, as it is a solution where users simply have to download and log in. Brands such as Office 365 and Skype utilize UCaaS platforms. According to Grand View Research, the global UC market will exceed $75 billion by 2020. Some organizations will leverage both options, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to Unified Communications.

HOW CAN THESE INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY?

According to a Gartner report, businesses realize just 43% of technology's potential benefits. One benefit they may be missing is the increase in productivity UC and UCaaS provides. Here are some ways Unified Communications in all forms helps to increase productivity in the workplace:

  • Effective Communication: UC helps with the ability to communicate frequently, being aware of when colleagues are free or busy, and helps alleviate the stress of playing phone tag.
  • Flexibility: UC allows for flexibility. Have remote employees? Giving them the ability to answer incoming communication from a variety of devices will help to increase productivity.
  • High Levels of Collaboration: Interaction over multiple platforms is easy to do with UC, and helps promote collaboration across multiple teams in multiple locations through features such as visual collaboration and instant messaging.

Unified Communications and/or UCaaS are both technological assets that should be used within your IT environment. The more consistent, collaborative communication is supported, the more your organization will be able to get done in less time. Increase the level of communication and productivity for your business at the same time by utilizing a Unified Communications solution.

Building an efficient IT solution can make the difference between your workplace technology becoming an asset or a liability. In this webinar, we will discuss how you can make your IT an asset by going over the right tools, processes, and people that will keep your technology running smoothly.

Click Here For The Free Webinar

 

 

Topics: Equipment, Business Continuity, Working Remotely, Productivity, Unified Communications, UCaaS

You See It In Our Logo - But What Does It Mean?

solve secure advance

Solve. Secure. Advance. You have seen these 3 words beneath our logo since our re-branding back in 2015, however, we haven't taken a deep dive in to what they really mean on our blog. This phrase is incorporated in everything we do, it drives the way we conduct our business and our Five Nines support. We think it's time you have the opportunity to learn what this phrase, that is so important to us, really means.

For all of the visual folks out there, solve. secure. advance. represents each arrow of our logo, starting from the bottom, advancing to the top. Each piece builds upon the other, and we would not have our complete logo, (or well-rounded service) if one piece was missing.

4-1Solve. Facing a challenge head-on is what solve is all about. In order for you to leverage your business technology to the fullest, you must first address the IT service basics. Embracing "solve" is about your initial IT set up: workstations, printers, servers, infrastructures, backups, antivirus, the list goes on. Five Nines utilizes "solve" to address the basics, because with the right foundation your business technology will be able to expand and become more innovative.

Secure. A solution becomes valuable when implemented correctly. The Five Nines team embraces "secure" by making IT business planning a priority. This includes focusing on security and compliance, conducting internal IT audits, becoming proactive with incident response and disaster recovery planning, providing business continuity planning, as well as implementing user awareness training to decrease security risks. We want your business to feel secure with every proactive step taken.

Advance. Technology is an ever-changing piece of your business, which is why advancement is all about looking forward to position your organization as a leader in the marketplace. "Advance" relates to IT strategy, whether that is 1/5/10 year budget planning, strategic planning, or implementing processes to increase productivity and efficiency over time. While strategy is not everyone's cup of tea, it's a necessary part of building and maintaining an IT environment, and that is what we are here for.

Solve. Secure. Advance. You cannot have one without the others. Putting your business technology in a position to succeed requires stepping back, starting from the basics, and taking a look at the bigger picture. We are here to help you put that full picture together to not only keep things up and running, but to keep your organization efficient and productive as well.

Did you like learning a little more about Five Nines? Another great way to get to know us is through our Five Nines Fundamentals. To watch a video on our first 7 fundamentals from a Five Niner's perspective, click below. 

Click Here To Watch The Video

Topics: Five Nines, solve. secure. advance.

The Importance of IT Documentation

DOCUMENTATION

In all aspects of business, there is typically some form of documentation. You could be tracking certain numbers for goal completion, documenting budgets, or analyzing metrics for performance purposes. Just like anything else in your business, documentation of your IT environment is a necessary step to keeping your business technology current and up-to-date.

Documentation helps to identify trends, and having the visibility into the trends of your technology will put your organization's IT at a competitive advantage. Here is what your IT team should be keeping a record of when tracking the happenings of your IT environment.

 

ALL SUPPORT ISSUES

It's important to have a record of all day-to-day issues your employee's are experiencing with their technology. It's extremely helpful to look at the most common tickets that are inputted when determining future IT strategies. Documentation helps provide a visual into whether one consistent issue is happening across multiple users, or if the same issue is happening to the same user more than once.

Having this cohesive record of support issues will also help your IT team determine how they can best accommodate your users. For example, if a user's computer is slow for a consistent amount of time, it may be time for an upgrade. Another way documentation can assist your IT team is when repetitive issues arise. If there is previous documentation of the same issue, an IT professional will have more insight into solving the same problem quickly, and may be able to determine a more permanent solution as well.

Not sure what this looks like for your organization? Click below to schedule a FREE technical walk through to better understand your IT environment, no strings attached! 

Click Here For A Free Technical Walk-Through

 

INVENTORY

Product Orders. Ordering new products for your IT environment is a very common occurrence, especially if you have multiple users or if you are consistently bringing in new talent. Keeping an up-to-date list of what products your IT team is ordering will help you make more informed decisions when having to sign off on ordering new products. Understanding what you already have, as well as what you plan to order in the near future, will keep your budget on track and your stress level low.

Your Entire Environment. Documenting your entire IT environment will help to paint a comprehensive picture of how all of your technology works together to support your business. Your IT team will have a list they can pull from when making decisions on whether to upgrade your technology, how to improve your infrastructure, and how to piece everything together within your network. You will also be able to understand what you already have, to narrow down what you may need in the future. Not only will this give you peace of mind, it could save your IT team a lot of time when asking questions regarding your IT environment.

As your organization works to improve and streamline technical processes and procedures, be sure your IT team goes the extra mile in terms of documentation practices. The more you have documented, the more visibility you will have into your business technology. That alone is worth the extra time. 

Having an understanding of the basic functions of your network will be helpful when determining IT documentation practices. Click below to download the Five Nines Power Hour: Building An Optimal Network, a webinar that will teach you all about network basics, network design (the good and the bad), as well as troubleshooting and monitoring.

Watch the Optimal Network Webinar

Topics: Tech Solutions, Strategic Planning

It's Officially 2019: Set Your IT Goals

IT Goals Blog

2019 is the year to make your technology a business asset if it isn't already. Sometimes, that can be easier said than done. Just like you set your new year's resolutions, however, you can set your IT goals now to implement throughout the year.

If you'd like to skip straight to a Five Nines Power Hour about utilizing your IT as an asset, click below:

IT As An Asset

Now that it is officially the new year, it's time to set your IT goals. Here's how you can set attainable goals, budget for your technology, and make your IT an asset in 2019.

 

SET ATTAINABLE AND MEASURABLE GOALS

To set attainable and measurable goals where you will gain the most benefit, you must first set your IT priorities. You may want to put a strong focus on your IT security, or improve your internal/external processes with specific pieces of technology. Maybe, you want to give your company a competitive edge by utilizing IT to decrease downtime. You could also put a focus on the current IT trends that drive business efficiencies such as Wi-Fi networking technology, IT automation, or updating your IT infrastructure and software.

According to the 2019 State of IT study, larger organizations (5,000+ employees) are more likely to adopt newer technology trends because of their needs and budget size. Smaller organizations, however, are trying to improve their current infrastructure and processes. Be sure to set goals that are a good fit for your organization, and focus on how you would like to see your business technology compliment organizational success. Ensuring that all goals are able to be measured and tracked is also a key component to this process.

Related: IT Strategic Planning for 2019 and Beyond

 

BUDGETING AND PLANNING

Goal implementation is best complimented by budgeting and planning. It may be helpful to sit down with your IT team to develop a preliminary 1/3/5 year budget plan, so you have a direction of where your business technology is headed. According to Spiceworks, the need to upgrade outdated IT infrastructures is the biggest driver of IT budget increases in 2019. With a budget plan, you will have the ability to anticipate these expenses before they happen.

After surveyed, 89% of companies expect their IT budgets to grow or remain steady in 2019. This year, smaller businesses are making significant increases to their hardware budgets, while large enterprises are increasing their cloud budgets. While both are valuable, it all depends on your type of organization. Just as you set goals that are right for your business, you must also allocate an appropriate budget plan as well.

 

MAKE IT AN ASSET

To make your IT a true organizational asset, put a strong focus on planning, tracking, training, and documentation when trying to meet and plan for your tech goals.

Internal IT Audit: Audit your current IT environment by determining what resources you already have, as well as what you may need in the future.

Disaster Recovery Plan: If something were to go awry, is your data backed up and secure? Take the time to develop a detailed disaster recovery plan that you can follow in the event of an emergency.

User Awareness Training: Train your users on best practices when navigating the web, or how to spot potentially malicious emails.

Download The Social Engineering Red Flags Flier

Consistent Strategic Planning: Take time each quarter to strategically analyze your business technology, and track the progress of your goals.

Documentation: Be sure to document everything, whether it is consistent tech issues that arise, metrics that coincide with your goals, or your month-to-month budget.

While it may seem like a lot of preparation, the more you put in to your business technology the more you will gain from it. Make 2019 your year to set and achieve the tech goals that will benefit your organization. Don't want to do it all alone? Click here.  

 

What does it look like when IT becomes an asset? Click below for the free Five Nines Power Hour "IT As An Asset", as we dive into IT responsibilities, service requests and security, as well as technology standards, budgeting, and IT training and knowledge.

Click Here For The Free Webinar

 

Topics: IT, Equipment, Strategic Planning, 2019

When You Should Reboot Your Devices And Why

REBOOT_RESTART VS. RESET

"When was the last time you restarted your computer?" Does that question sound familiar? Whenever a user is facing a tech issue, typically one of the first troubleshooting steps is to try rebooting their device.

Why is restarting your device sometimes the quick fix you need to get back on track? Why is it the first step engineers will turn to when you tell them your tech issue?

 

REBOOT/RESTART VS. RESET

Before attempting to reboot, restart, or reset your device, it's important to know the difference between them as one is more permanent than the others. Rebooting and restarting your device are inherently the same thing, you are turning the device off and back on again in order to start with a clean slate so your programs can run normally. Sometimes, rebooting/restarting may be referred to as a "soft reset", which means the exact same thing. Your programs and settings will remain the same when you reboot or restart.

Don't let the term "soft reset" get confused with completely resetting your device, or conducting a "hard reset". Resetting is equivalent to erasing, as you are returning a device, program, or software back to its' factory default state. Resetting your device will erase all of your settings and programs, so you will want to be 100% sure before you press the reset button.

 

THE WHY

Today we will be focusing on rebooting/restarting as it is more common when troubleshooting. Restarting a device gives the user a clean slate the work with, as any background processes or troublesome code gets wiped clean. These background issues are fairly common in devices, and can arise in several ways. Restarting your device could resolve background processes causing a decrease in speed that are still running, shut down browsers that are using up too much memory, as well as reconnect to Wi-Fi networks that are being interfered with. Occasionally, your hardware or drivers may malfunction, or your computer's RAM is utilized to its' limitations. Rebooting your device could help resolve many of those issues.

You may be wondering, how you will know if one of the issues above applies to your device? You may not be able to diagnose exactly what is wrong with your technology, but it should be fairly obvious to you if something is wrong, as you will begin to experience performance issues.

 

THE WHEN

It is best to restart your devices at least once per week. Set a calendar invite to restart your computer consistently. For example, you could dedicate your first 5 minutes every Friday morning to rebooting. Aside from weekly reboots, if you are experiencing performance issues the best first step to begin finding a resolution is to restart your device. These performance issues could range from your device freezing, crashing, or overheating. Restarting could solve the issue right off the bat and save you time, however, if the issue keeps happening you will want to reach out to your IT team.

While it may be a hassle to close out all programs that you are working on, restarting your technology is a key troubleshooting step for simple tech issues users experience daily. The next time your device isn't cooperating, we hope rebooting is a helpful step in the troubleshooting process.

 

Having an understanding of the basic functions of your network will be helpful when reporting a future tech issue. Click below to download the Five Nines Power Hour: Building An Optimal Network, a free webinar that will teach you all about network basics, network design (the good and the bad), as well as troubleshooting and monitoring.

Click Here For The Free Download

Topics: Equipment, Rebooting, Troubleshooting

What Do End-Of-Support and End-Of-Life Dates Really Mean?

end-of support end-of-life

Have you ever run into technological terms where you don't fully understand their meaning? Have you felt this way when hearing your technology is approaching "end-of-life" or that a product has an upcoming "end-of-support date"?

We'd like to give you a little insight as to what end-of-support dates are, what end-of-life means, as well as what your action items should be when your IT team tells you that one of these is approaching. This way, you will know what your engineer is talking about, and you will have peace of mind when navigating upcoming changes.

 

End-Of-Support dates

So, what does end-of-support actually mean? It's just how it sounds. This is put into place when a company decides to stop providing support on a specific product or service. Oftentimes this occurs when newer software or hardware is released, and support for the older version is no longer provided.

Think about it this way, whenever your technology breaks, freezes, or simply isn't working correctly, you pick up the phone and call a support line. Imagine not being able to call a support line for one of your products. If something breaks and you're in that position, it becomes a larger problem as it may not have an easy fix. This is why updating your software and hardware, and paying attention to end-of-support dates is so important.

 

End-Of-Life dates

End-of-life dates are slightly different, as this is the date when the product goes end-of-sale. Utilizing end-of-life hardware can be especially risky, as businesses could experience compromised data security, decreased productivity, higher maintenance costs, problems with scalability, as well as non-compliance.

According to the State of IT Study conducted by Spiceworks, end-of-life is the top driver of new technological purchases as it was reported 57% of purchases were motivated by end-of-life. In fact, 62% of small businesses are driven to purchase new technology due to end-of-life dates that are fast approaching.

 

Business Reviews/Budgeting

So, what should you do when you hear end-of-support or end-of-life dates that apply to your business are approaching? It's important to set a meeting with your main IT contacts to cover all of your bases. Take time to discuss all of your current products, what you should keep, what isn't necessary, and which of your hardware or software is approaching an end-of-support or end-of-life date. Even if the date is a year away, they tend to sneak up on you, so it's always good to start the discussion in order to be prepared ahead of time.

From there, you will have a clear picture that will help you to budget and prioritize for the upcoming year. You will have the opportunity to really plan ahead and allocate your IT budget dollars in the right places.

For free presentation slides from the 2018 NE Tech Summit titled, "End-of-Life: The Technology Graveyard", click below. This presentation will provide you with tools to create an end-of-life management plan, and will outline upcoming and recent end-of-life dates you should be aware of.

Click Here To Access The Presentation

Topics: End of Life, End of Support

Gartner Study Breakdown: 2019 it trends To Watch For

2019 IT Trends

The tech world has been taken by storm since Gartner released research about the top 10 strategic tech trends of 2019. It's always intriguing to see what the next year has in store for technological advancements, and can also be very helpful in keeping your business competitive.

Below are top trends we pulled from the Gartner study to keep an eye on in 2019. These are based on research that highlight "changing or not yet widely recognized trends that will impact organizations through 2023."

 

ALL THINGS AI

AI has been on the radar for several years now, and is now being used on autonomous things to perform tasks that are normally done by humans. Examples of autonomous things being impacted by AI are: robotics, vehicles, drones, appliances, and agents. This is expected to increase in strength in 2019 and beyond. An AI-related tool that might be more relevant to your business are chat bots. This technology is becoming more and more prevalent in the way users seek information and make requests. Chat bots are expected to improve immensely in 2019 as users continue to rely on them. According to a recent study conducted by Spiceworks, within the next 12 months 40% of large businesses, 25% of mid-size companies, and 27% of small businesses are expected to implement chat bots into their communication strategies.

Data reporting and collection is extremely helpful in measuring business success, which is where augmented analytics come into play. Through automated algorithms, more conclusions can be drawn where it might have previously been missed. Generating analytics will become easier than ever before, and according to Gartner, by 2020 more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated. Bias will be removed, and data insights will become more readily available.

 

THE MIX OF DIGITAL AND PHYSICAL WORLDS

Gartner states that this next year will raise more opportunity for the blending of the digital and physical worlds, in order to create a more immersive world. These two worlds will be blended in several ways, one being through immersive technologies such as augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR). Gartner predicts that increased productivity will occur in both VR and MR, VR technology will increase its' ability to sense shapes and track user's positions, and MR will enable people to interact with their world. According to the study, by 2022 70% of enterprises will be experimenting with immersive technologies.

"Digital twins" are also a prediction expected to slowly arise in the upcoming year and advance in future years. This is defined as a digital representation that mirrors a real-life object, process, or system. These will become more advanced as they will provide a focus on improving specific business outcomes, real-time monitoring and control, driving new business opportunities, and the evaluation of "what if" scenarios. An example? A business model or process will be moved from a white board in a board room meeting to a process that is tracked and implemented completely through business technology.

 

BUSINESS PRACTICES

As information grows more and more valuable, keeping information private will increase in importance. Gartner states that privacy must be rooted in ethics and trust. "The conversation should move from 'Are we compliant?' toward 'Are we doing the right thing?'. Digital ethics and privacy will continue to grow in importance and relevance, especially for businesses.

Gartner defines a smart space as a physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact. These smart spaces are predicted to increase momentum in the next few years. Smart spaces are all about the collaboration of technology to create an interactive environment for the user. These will be used to connect businesses to their communities, and will drive more social and community collaboration.

The overall theme we are seeing from this study? Interaction. Technology is only going to increase the amount of interaction it has with users and other pieces of technology as the years go by, and 2019 will be no different. Continue keeping your business competitive by staying on top of the latest, most relevant technology to your industry, and don't be afraid to try new things that will streamline your processes.

Technology is always going to outgrow previous expectations, and we can't wait to see what the future holds.

Want to focus your time on business continuity and planning ahead? Click below for our free presentation slide deck about planning for the worst, to keep you at your best.

Click Here For The Free Download

 

 

Topics: Tech Solutions, Business Continuity, AI, Tech Trends

A Special Year For Scruff 4 Schools: Record-Breaking Results

Blog Grpahic - S4S

"We are intentional about helping those in need, be it our family, peers, clients, or our community. We are always on the lookout for these impactful opportunities."

Five Niners all across Nebraska operate on 14 fundamentals that were carefully drafted years ago to represent Five Nines in its' entirety, from core cultural values to customer service excellence. The statement above is from the 6th Five Nines fundamental, We Care. What we came to realize this November during Scruff 4 Schools, however, was not only does our team operate on this fundamental, but so do the amazing partners of Five Nines who were more than willing to jump in and help in any way they could to fight childhood hunger in Nebraska with us.

We are proud to announce that this year was a record-breaking year for our Scruff 4 Schools campaign. Last year, Scruff 4 Schools provided 10,215 meals through the annual initiative. Our Scruff Squad went into November wanting to make it bigger than ever before, and it has been amazing to see Nebraska communities rally behind this cause.

The Results

With over 7,141.8 pounds of food collected in combination with monetary donations raised, the total meals provided that will feed Nebraska kids is…26,354!

Thank You

The results above would not have been possible if not for every single Five Nines partner whose teams proactively collected nonperishable food items and monetary donations in their offices. From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank every single individual who participated. We would also like to thank everyone who participated in the Scruff 4 Schools Driving 4 Donations campaign. Our Scruff Squad camped out at the Kearney, Grand Island, Columbus, and Omaha Hy-Vee's throughout the month in an attempt to collect even more nonperishable food items. We'd like to thank Kat 103.7 and Hits 106 for helping to raise awareness for the Hy-Vee events, as well as anyone who was shopping at those locations on those days who was kind enough to donate. We would also like to thank the Food Bank of Lincoln and the Food Bank for the Heartland for their Scruff 4 Schools partnership, and for giving us the amazing childhood hunger programs that we are able to support.

Every single donation in this campaign made a huge difference in these children's lives.

An Inspiring Story

Finally, Five Nines would like to take a moment to thank the team at H&M Trucking for their inspiring donation to Scruff 4 Schools. The team at H&M Trucking alone rallied together to collectively raise $4,771.00 + 2 full barrels filled with nonperishable food items in the fight against childhood hunger. From employees asking to deduct a certain amount from their paycheck to go towards Scruff 4 Schools each week, to a veteran who donated his entire week's paycheck to the cause, the generosity of the H&M Trucking team will provide many meals to feed children in need in Nebraska.

"For us, this experience has highlighted just how much our people want to help others. We put the notice out on a Thursday to our drivers, and by the next Monday morning we had already raised over $1,500.00 in pledges. Everyone was excited to see the updates on how much we had raised each week. We had one driver that pledged his ENTIRE PAYCHECK for a week (over $1,000.00) to the program.  He’s a veteran, and said he’s seen starving children when he was deployed, and it was the worst thing he’d ever encountered. He wanted to help as many children as he could with this opportunity." said Cyndi Meurrens, Project Solutions Manager at H&M Trucking.

"We had other drivers pledging weekly amounts as we offered to deduct their donations directly from their pay. Drivers would call daily for progress amounts and then pledge even more to bump us up over our goal. The office staff wanted to make sure we also filled the barrels – and boy did we ever! They were already overflowing a couple of weeks into the campaign. The results are absolutely amazing, even to us!"

Not only did the H&M team surprise Five Nines with their generosity, they seemed to have surprised themselves.

Meurrens stated, "It's indescribable!  Everyone here is absolutely baffled by our results, and so grateful that we have so many incredibly generous people in the H&M family."

HM Trucking

"The H&M Trucking team went above and beyond for the 2018 Scruff 4 Schools initiative," said Joel Friesen, President of Five Nines. "We are grateful for our amazing Five Nines staff and partners who embrace the 'We Care' fundamental, and who work hard to better the communities they serve."

Our team is humbled by the support this initiative received throughout the month of November. If we have learned one thing, it's that Scruff 4 Schools is not just a Five Nines effort, it's a community effort. We can't wait to see what difference we can make together in 2019.

To learn more about the annual Scruff 4 Schools initiative, click below: 

Visit Scruff 4 Schools Website

Topics: Scruff 4 Schools

Tech Gadgets Worth Buying On Cyber Monday

Cyber-Monday-Blog

Cyber Monday is a day with no lines and no stress. Where users can jump online, find deals, and purchase the holiday must-haves. 

Where do a lot of Cyber Monday sales lie? The technology products. According to a report by Adobe following Cyber Monday in 2017, online sales last year reached $6.59 billion, making it the largest online shopping day in history. 4 of the 5 top sellers were selling different pieces of technology.

There will be endless tech deals as Cyber Monday progresses. If you are online shopping, here are the tech gadgets that are most worth your attention and investment.

LAPTOPS

There are plenty of laptop deals out there today on Cyber Monday from Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Apple, and more. Laptops are one of the best tech gadgets to invest in as their functionality expands beyond simple day-to-day uses. The average lifespan of a laptop is between 3-5 years, and while it may operate past that time frame, the amount of files, updates, and software can really take a toll on a laptop's hardware. If you notice your laptop is overheating consistently, running more slowly, and giving you problems on a weekly basis, it might be time to invest in a new laptop. What better time to do so than on Cyber Monday?

CELL PHONES

It seems as though we blink and there is a new, better phone out there, each one more advanced than the last. Cyber Monday is full of deals on Apple, Samsung, and Google cell phones from many different stores and vendors. Your cell phone is one of the most utilized pieces of technology in your daily life, as it is always with you and is consistently used to stay in touch with the people in your life. If you are ready for an upgrade, Cyber Monday might be the best time to enhance your every day device.

Your mobile device is very personal to you, holding all of your information within the click of a few buttons. While it's always on you, that doesn't mean it cannot be hacked. Here are 3 signs that will tell you whether your phone has been hacked.

Click Here For The Free Download

TABLETS

Around 164 million units of tablets were shipped worldwide in 2017. Why have these devices become so popular? The functionality and pricing has put it at the top of many wish lists over the last couple of years. Tablets, whether created by Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Microsoft, Lenovo, etc., all have one thing in common: a simplified approach. They are easy to travel with, and are very useful for entertainment and communication purposes. Combine that with the price points, especially on Cyber Monday, and it's no surprise they continue to grow in popularity.

SMART SPEAKERS

2018 has been a big year for smart speakers such as the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as the accessories that support those particular smart speakers. The increase in popularity could be attributed to the quick access to information as well as the hands-free tasks that these smart speakers provide. Asking, "Alexa, what is the weather today?" as you are getting ready for work, or telling the Google Assistant to create a grocery list for you has drawn in a crowd of on-the-go individuals who love to utilize different pieces of technology. According to research by NPR, over 43 million Americans own a smart speaker, that is 18% of the adult population in just 2+ years of existence. Not to mention, 61% of these individuals are promoting others to purchase a smart speaker device as well.

Cyber Monday is a great way to save money on great tech gadgets on the market. As always, be sure to only make purchases through secure websites. You can check the safety of a questionable website here: https://fortiguard.com/webfilter

Curious about the cost of NOT replacing old equipment? Click below for a free presentation slide download filled with helpful stats and additional information.

Click Here To Learn More

 

Topics: Equipment, Cyber Monday

Unplug Over The Holidays: Leave "IT" To A Managed Services Provider

Unplugging Blog-2

There are only a few times throughout the year when it is encouraged to unplug from work. Where you should spend time with family, eat too much food, and unplug from your phone and email. I think you know where we are going with this… it's almost officially the holiday season.

How unplugged will you really be over the holidays, if you are constantly worried about your business technology? The truth is, you can never really unplug from the chaos if your IT infrastructure is not fully supported.

We encourage you to unplug over the holidays, and leave your IT in the hands of a capable Managed IT Services team. What services should you be able to count on this holiday season?

24/7/365

Your technology is not an 8am-5pm job and it never will be. It requires 24 hour monitoring, every single day of the year so that your organization can not only stay protected, but competitive and efficient as well. On-call engineers are also a great resource as they help to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity within your IT environment. If something were to go awry, they are there to respond. According to Ponemon Institute, only a third of organizations believe they have adequate resources to manage security effectively. That statistic is enough to keep a decision maker awake at night. Knowing that an IT team is monitoring your business technology for you will help you and your coworkers to really unplug over a holiday.

CONTROLLED IT COSTS

Your IT team should provide you with 1 - 3 - 5 year budgets so that your organization isn't faced with unexpected costs as you are budgeting for the next year throughout the holiday season. Technology is not going to slow down in the professional world, so it's best to have your IT spending for the next year determined ahead of time before the new year creeps up on you. According to a study conducted by Spiceworks, 89% of companies expect their IT budgets to grow or stay the same over the next 12 months. IT spending is becoming a strategic move by most businesses, and investing in the right technology is something that you must plan ahead for. Long-term budgeting and planning will give you peace of mind towards the end of the year as the direction of your IT environment is more controlled and defined.

Want to learn more about how to make your technology a strategic business asset? Sit back, grab some popcorn, and click below to download the FREE Five Nines webinar, "IT As An Asset".

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FOCUS ON YOUR CORE BUSINESS

Time is limited, you don't want to take the extra time to worry about your IT efforts, especially as the end of the year approaches. Leaving it up to the pros has become the common trend when it comes to specialized departments as a study showed in 2017, 57% of organizations increased their use of outsourcing. There was a huge increase because organizations wanted to stay focused on their core business. This can be extremely beneficial when you have an IT team worrying about your business technology for you. No more working late nights or long hours trying to squeeze in time to prioritize the direction of your IT, it will all be handled for you, and you can have a more stress-free holiday season.

The end of the year approaches quickly, as does the craziness of the holiday season. Rather than juggling a million things at once, leave your IT to the professionals and really unplug during your time away from the office. Focus on the things that matter most before the new year.

Are you ready to unplug over the holiday season? Click below to schedule a free technical walk-through, no strings attached!

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Topics: Outsourced IT, Managed IT Services, Business Continuity, Strategic Planning