Sluggish PC? These desktop decluttering tips can help

Everyone needs a fast, reliable PC to work and be productive. A slow computer, however, negatively affects your productivity. One of the many causes of a sluggish computer is a cluttered desktop. Learn the fixes that will help improve your PC’s speed.

Do a bit of recon

Before you go on a deleting spree, sort out the files and folders on your desktop to know what you need to keep. An easy way to do this is to right-click on an empty area of your desktop and select Auto arrange icons. This will organize your icons into a grid format that makes it easier for you to view all the icons on it. Then, right-click on the empty space and hover your mouse over “Sort by” and select Date modified to arrange the icons by the date they were last opened, with the latest on top.

Create holding and app shortcut folders

People often use their desktop to hold downloads, photos, screenshots, email attachments, and other files, which easily messes up the desktop. In truth, you probably don’t need all these shortcuts on your desktop.

To prevent shortcuts piling up, create a folder on your desktop for all nonessential files and folders. Use this folder to store temporary items, including those you don’t intend to keep for long. Then, delete the files inside the folder once you no longer need them.

It also helps to create a shortcut folder. When you install new programs on Windows, a shortcut icon is often automatically added to your desktop. However, desktop shortcuts should be for frequently used programs only, so create a separate folder for shortcuts to seldomly used programs.

Be ruthless in decluttering

Once you have your folders set up, it’s time to get rid of the clutter. If you haven’t used a file or folder in the past two months or so, you should seriously consider getting rid of it. Uninstall programs you no longer use, delete images you no longer want or need, move unimportant files elsewhere, and place the rest in relevant folders.

Once completed, take a look at your browser to see where it stores downloaded files. If your browser downloads files to your desktop by default, go to Settings and change the target location to the Downloads folder.

Stick with your plan

Once you have decluttered your desktop, try to stick with the rules you’ve made. Whenever you download something, ask yourself whether it should go to the desktop or someplace else. Of course, sticking with these rules won’t always be easy, so aim to clean up your desktop at least once or twice a month.

Use the taskbar or Start menu for apps

Pinning apps to the Start menu and the taskbar is a great alternative to simply having program shortcuts on your desktop. To pin apps, open your apps list (click the down arrow from the Windows Start screen) and right-click on the application you would like to pin. Then, simply select Pin to Start or Pin to taskbar.

Strategically position your wallpaper

An interesting way to minimize clutter is to pick a wallpaper that you like, which could be your favorite picture or slogan. Frame the image so the focus is in the center of your desktop. Then, place your icons around the image in a way that allows you to still see the image. If you can’t see the image, that means you have too many icons and it’s time to get rid of a few. Having a wallpaper that you like can serve as a reminder to keep icons to a minimum.

If you are looking to learn more about using optimizing your Windows PC, contact us today for more tips and tricks from office IT experts.

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Make your desktop clutter-free with these tips

Filling your desktop with shortcuts to files and applications may seem practical because it lets you quickly access what you need. But when more than half of your desktop screen is filled with icons, your productivity can be affected. You may end up wasting time finding a file or opening a program. You can avoid that by making your desktop clutter-free.

Do a bit of recon

Before you go on a deleting spree, sort out the files and folders on your desktop to know what you need to keep. An easy way to do this is to right-click on an empty area of your desktop and select Auto arrange icons. This will organize your icons into a grid format that makes it easier for you to view all the icons on it. Then, right-click on the empty space and hover your mouse over “Sort by” and select Date modified to arrange the icons by the date they were last opened, with the latest on top.

Create holding and app shortcut folders

People often use their desktop to hold downloads, photos, screenshots, email attachments, and other files, which easily messes up the desktop. In truth, you probably don’t need all these shortcuts on your desktop.

To prevent shortcuts piling up, create a folder on your desktop for all nonessential files and folders. Use this folder to store temporary items, including those you don’t intend to keep for long. Then, delete the files inside the folder once you no longer need them.

It also helps to create a shortcut folder. When you install new programs on Windows, a shortcut icon is often automatically added to your desktop. However, desktop shortcuts should be for frequently used programs only, so create a separate folder for shortcuts to seldomly used programs.

Be ruthless in decluttering

Once you have your folders set up, it’s time to get rid of the clutter. If you haven’t used a file or folder in the past two months or so, you should seriously consider getting rid of it. Uninstall programs you no longer use, delete images you no longer want or need, move unimportant files elsewhere, and place the rest in relevant folders.

Once completed, take a look at your browser to see where it stores downloaded files. If your browser downloads files to your desktop by default, go to Settings and change the target location to the Downloads folder.

Stick with your plan

Once you have decluttered your desktop, try to stick with the rules you’ve made. Whenever you download something, ask yourself whether it should go to the desktop or someplace else. Of course, sticking with these rules won’t always be easy, so aim to clean up your desktop at least once or twice a month.

Use the taskbar or Start menu for apps

Pinning apps to the Start menu and the taskbar is a great alternative to simply having program shortcuts on your desktop. To pin apps, open your apps list (click the down arrow from the Windows Start screen) and right-click on the application you would like to pin. Then, simply select Pin to Start or Pin to taskbar.

Strategically position your wallpaper

An interesting way to minimize clutter is to pick a wallpaper that you like, which could be your favorite picture or slogan. Frame the image so the focus is in the center of your desktop. Then, place your icons around the image in a way that allows you to still see the image. If you can’t see the image, that means you have too many icons and it’s time to get rid of a few. Having a wallpaper that you like can serve as a reminder to keep icons to a minimum.

If you are looking to learn more about using optimizing your Windows PC, contact us today for more tips and tricks from office IT experts.

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Get more work done by getting rid of desktop clutter

A cluttered computer desktop can hamper productivity. When a bunch of files, folders, and applications are fighting for space on your desktop, it can be difficult to look for the ones you need. You may not realize it, but the clutter affects the way you work and slows you down. Follow these tips to get rid of the mess on your desktop.

Do a bit of recon

Before you go on a deleting spree, sort out the files and folders on your desktop to know what you need to keep. An easy way to do this is to right-click on an empty area of your desktop and select Auto arrange icons. This will organize your icons into a grid format that makes it easier for you to view all the icons on it. Then, right-click on the empty space and hover your mouse over “Sort by” and select Date modified to arrange the icons by the date they were last opened, with the latest on top.

Create holding and app shortcut folders

People often use their desktop to hold downloads, photos, screenshots, email attachments, and other files, which easily messes up the desktop. In truth, you probably don’t need all these shortcuts on your desktop.

To prevent shortcuts piling up, create a folder on your desktop for all nonessential files and folders. Use this folder to store temporary items, including those you don’t intend to keep for long. Then, delete the files inside the folder once you no longer need them.

It also helps to create a shortcut folder. When you install new programs on Windows, a shortcut icon is often automatically added to your desktop. However, desktop shortcuts should be for frequently used programs only, so create a separate folder for shortcuts to seldomly used programs.

Be ruthless in decluttering

Once you have your folders set up, it’s time to get rid of the clutter. If you haven’t used a file or folder in the past two months or so, you should seriously consider getting rid of it. Uninstall programs you no longer use, delete images you no longer want or need, move unimportant files elsewhere, and place the rest in relevant folders.

Once completed, take a look at your browser to see where it stores downloaded files. If your browser downloads files to your desktop by default, go to Settings and change the target location to the Downloads folder.

Stick with your plan

Once you have decluttered your desktop, try to stick with the rules you’ve made. Whenever you download something, ask yourself whether it should go to the desktop or someplace else. Of course, sticking with these rules won’t always be easy, so aim to clean up your desktop at least once or twice a month.

Use the taskbar or Start menu for apps

Pinning apps to the Start menu and the taskbar is a great alternative to simply having program shortcuts on your desktop. To pin apps, open your apps list (click the down arrow from the Windows Start screen) and right-click on the application you would like to pin. Then, simply select Pin to Start or Pin to taskbar.

Strategically position your wallpaper

An interesting way to minimize clutter is to pick a wallpaper that you like, which could be your favorite picture or slogan. Frame the image so the focus is in the center of your desktop. Then, place your icons around the image in a way that allows you to still see the image. If you can’t see the image, that means you have too many icons and it’s time to get rid of a few. Having a wallpaper that you like can serve as a reminder to keep icons to a minimum.

If you are looking to learn more about using optimizing your Windows PC, contact us today for more tips and tricks from office IT experts.

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Boost your cybersecurity with security audits

Are your organization’s cyber defenses enough to protect it from a cyberattack? Unfortunately, just incorporating the latest antimalware software or firewall to your system won’t guarantee your company’s safety. Conducting a security audit will give you a complete picture of your company’s data integrity, giving you a greater chance of successfully meeting your cybersecurity goals.

Auditing and the security strategy

Audits are necessary to ensure and maintain system quality and integrity. These system checks help identify security gaps and assure business stakeholders that your company is doing everything in its power to protect its data.

An audit is usually made up of three phases: assess, assign, and audit. Having a methodical way of auditing helps you avoid missing important details. It is also crucial that each stage is treated with the same level of importance to ensure thorough and comprehensive outcomes.

During the assessment phase, have your IT partner look at the security system you have in place. All of your business computers and servers, as well as every program and every user, need to be checked. The assessment should give you an overview of how secure your business currently is, along with any weak points that need to be addressed.

After the assessment, you need to implement the appropriate solutions and partner with the right providers. Ask your IT provider about solutions they can provide for each of your network/system gaps. And for issues that they can’t handle (perhaps because certain machines and software are highly specialized), ask your IT provider for their recommended list of partners.

Finally, conclude your audit cycle with an “audit,” which is one last look-around before releasing the system back into the wild. Make sure that installations, patches, and upgrades are integrated properly and working seamlessly. For future reference, take down notes just in case you need information about software and hardware improvements done during this audit cycle.

What exactly should be audited?

When conducting an audit, there are three factors you should focus on:

The state of your security
Security — especially digital security — is never at an impasse, and it is always in flux. That’s because cybercriminals are always concocting new malware attacks and threats to infiltrate company networks. And that’s not even accounting for cyberattacks that exploit human error like phishing and other social engineering attacks. This means that system security has shorter and shorter expiration dates nowadays, making audits all the more crucial to implementing your security strategy.

The changes made
The key to having long-term data integrity is a continuity plan, and not just one that addresses severe business disruptions such as those caused by calamity or disaster. A true continuity plan tries to address every conceivable risk realistically, especially those that can trip up business operations, such as cyberattacks. This can only be possible if you know what kind of hardware and software comprise your system, as well as their respective updates and improvements.

Who has access to what
Data systems should allow administrators some control over who sees what. Total accessibility is a very dangerous prospect, especially since business nowadays is increasingly hinged on internet presence. An audit will let you check on user access so that you can make necessary adjustments to protect your data.

If you are looking for help in developing a security strategy for your business, contact us today to see how our managed solutions can help.

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The importance of security audits

Organizations can’t afford to be complacent with their cybersecurity. Beyond installing the latest cybersecurity tools, you need to conduct a security audit to ensure that you successfully implement a sound defensive strategy.

Auditing and the security strategy

Audits are necessary to ensure and maintain system quality and integrity. These system checks help identify security gaps and assure business stakeholders that your company is doing everything in its power to protect its data.

An audit is usually made up of three phases: assess, assign, and audit. Having a methodical way of auditing helps you avoid missing important details. It is also crucial that each stage is treated with the same level of importance to ensure thorough and comprehensive outcomes.

During the assessment phase, have your IT partner look at the security system you have in place. All of your business computers and servers, as well as every program and every user, need to be checked. The assessment should give you an overview of how secure your business currently is, along with any weak points that need to be addressed.

After the assessment, you need to implement the appropriate solutions and partner with the right providers. Ask your IT provider about solutions they can provide for each of your network/system gaps. And for issues that they can’t handle (perhaps because certain machines and software are highly specialized), ask your IT provider for their recommended list of partners.

Finally, conclude your audit cycle with an “audit,” which is one last look-around before releasing the system back into the wild. Make sure that installations, patches, and upgrades are integrated properly and working seamlessly. For future reference, take down notes just in case you need information about software and hardware improvements done during this audit cycle.

What exactly should be audited?

When conducting an audit, there are three factors you should focus on:

The state of your security
Security — especially digital security — is never at an impasse, and it is always in flux. That’s because cybercriminals are always concocting new malware attacks and threats to infiltrate company networks. And that’s not even accounting for cyberattacks that exploit human error like phishing and other social engineering attacks. This means that system security has shorter and shorter expiration dates nowadays, making audits all the more crucial to implementing your security strategy.

The changes made
The key to having long-term data integrity is a continuity plan, and not just one that addresses severe business disruptions such as those caused by calamity or disaster. A true continuity plan tries to address every conceivable risk realistically, especially those that can trip up business operations, such as cyberattacks. This can only be possible if you know what kind of hardware and software comprise your system, as well as their respective updates and improvements.

Who has access to what
Data systems should allow administrators some control over who sees what. Total accessibility is a very dangerous prospect, especially since business nowadays is increasingly hinged on internet presence. An audit will let you check on user access so that you can make necessary adjustments to protect your data.

If you are looking for help in developing a security strategy for your business, contact us today to see how our managed solutions can help.

Posted in General Articles C, Security | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

What are security audits and why do you need them?

Nowadays, it’s more prudent to assume that your business will face a cyberattack in the near future, rather than be complacent and hope for the best. One of the best ways to ensure that your organization has the capability to weather or resist a cyberattack is by conducting a security audit.

Auditing and the security strategy

Audits are necessary to ensure and maintain system quality and integrity. These system checks help identify security gaps and assure business stakeholders that your company is doing everything in its power to protect its data.

An audit is usually made up of three phases: assess, assign, and audit. Having a methodical way of auditing helps you avoid missing important details. It is also crucial that each stage is treated with the same level of importance to ensure thorough and comprehensive outcomes.

During the assessment phase, have your IT partner look at the security system you have in place. All of your business computers and servers, as well as every program and every user, need to be checked. The assessment should give you an overview of how secure your business currently is, along with any weak points that need to be addressed.

After the assessment, you need to implement the appropriate solutions and partner with the right providers. Ask your IT provider about solutions they can provide for each of your network/system gaps. And for issues that they can’t handle (perhaps because certain machines and software are highly specialized), ask your IT provider for their recommended list of partners.

Finally, conclude your audit cycle with an “audit,” which is one last look-around before releasing the system back into the wild. Make sure that installations, patches, and upgrades are integrated properly and working seamlessly. For future reference, take down notes just in case you need information about software and hardware improvements done during this audit cycle.

What exactly should be audited?

When conducting an audit, there are three factors you should focus on:

The state of your security
Security — especially digital security — is never at an impasse, and it is always in flux. That’s because cybercriminals are always concocting new malware attacks and threats to infiltrate company networks. And that’s not even accounting for cyberattacks that exploit human error like phishing and other social engineering attacks. This means that system security has shorter and shorter expiration dates nowadays, making audits all the more crucial to implementing your security strategy.

The changes made
The key to having long-term data integrity is a continuity plan, and not just one that addresses severe business disruptions such as those caused by calamity or disaster. A true continuity plan tries to address every conceivable risk realistically, especially those that can trip up business operations, such as cyberattacks. This can only be possible if you know what kind of hardware and software comprise your system, as well as their respective updates and improvements.

Who has access to what
Data systems should allow administrators some control over who sees what. Total accessibility is a very dangerous prospect, especially since business nowadays is increasingly hinged on internet presence. An audit will let you check on user access so that you can make necessary adjustments to protect your data.

If you are looking for help in developing a security strategy for your business, contact us today to see how our managed solutions can help.

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5 Tips to lower your printing costs

Your growing printing expenditures may be the result of overdependence on paper files, the lack of an effective printing workflow, or obsolete printers. With some fresh ideas, clever problem-solving, and the following tips, you could significantly cut down your printing budget.

Replace outdated printers

Your years-old printer may still be getting the job done, but they may be taking a bit out of your IT budget.

Any piece of equipment that is five years old (or older) requires frequent maintenance and causes more trouble than it’s worth. Because old printers are no longer under warranty, fixing them is costly and challenging. It’s also difficult to find replacement parts for old printers because manufacturers have stopped producing them.

When you replace outdated printers with newer, multifunctional ones, you’re investing in hardware that will pay for itself with increases in productivity and efficiency.

Avoid purchasing unnecessary supplies

A poorly managed printer system will result in a stockpile of cartridges, toners, and reams of paper. This happens when, for example, an employee mistakes a basic malfunction for a lack of ink and then makes an unnecessary supply request. This is more common than you may think, and definitely more expensive.

Even without a dedicated printer manager, you can avoid this situation by automating supply replacement. Assign a point person to proactively place orders when supplies are about to run out to avoid ordering items that are still in stock.

Impose strict process workflows

Submitting expense reports, filing trip reimbursements, and other administrative tasks require a proper document workflow. Without proper guidelines, employees and administrative staff end up printing unnecessary documents.

Implementing a printing process workflow can reduce or prevent redundant print jobs that result in wasted paper and ink because of abandoned documents.

Go paperless

Implementing a document management solution that reduces paper consumption is an effective way to save money. It may not be possible in every department, but those who can do their jobs without printing should be encouraged to do so. Printing lengthy email chains that can be discussed in a meeting is just one example of wasteful practices that should be avoided. And for businesses that have shifted to a work from home setup, going paperless makes total sense.

Reduce IT support calls for printing issues

Calling on an in-house IT technician to assist with problems like paper jams, printer Wi-Fi issues, and other concerns probably do more harm than good in terms of productivity. You and your IT personnel could avoid dealing with these productivity killers by identifying the problem areas of your print environment. Then, you can work on solutions specific to your office, such as drafting a printing workflow or getting help from document management experts who can recommend time- and budget-saving solutions.

Partnering with experts to manage your IT workflow will make your day-to-day operations more efficient and save money on printing costs. Our specialists will gladly recommend best practices and tips on document management. Call us today.

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Decrease printing costs in 5 easy ways

You may think that your printing expenses aren’t a major concern, but mismanaging these may result in a bloated IT budget that’s composed mostly of hardware, supply purchases, and equipment maintenance costs. These five tips will help your business save money on printing expenses.

Replace outdated printers

Your years-old printer may still be getting the job done, but they may be taking a bit out of your IT budget.

Any piece of equipment that is five years old (or older) requires frequent maintenance and causes more trouble than it’s worth. Because old printers are no longer under warranty, fixing them is costly and challenging. It’s also difficult to find replacement parts for old printers because manufacturers have stopped producing them.

When you replace outdated printers with newer, multifunctional ones, you’re investing in hardware that will pay for itself with increases in productivity and efficiency.

Avoid purchasing unnecessary supplies

A poorly managed printer system will result in a stockpile of cartridges, toners, and reams of paper. This happens when, for example, an employee mistakes a basic malfunction for a lack of ink and then makes an unnecessary supply request. This is more common than you may think, and definitely more expensive.

Even without a dedicated printer manager, you can avoid this situation by automating supply replacement. Assign a point person to proactively place orders when supplies are about to run out to avoid ordering items that are still in stock.

Impose strict process workflows

Submitting expense reports, filing trip reimbursements, and other administrative tasks require a proper document workflow. Without proper guidelines, employees and administrative staff end up printing unnecessary documents.

Implementing a printing process workflow can reduce or prevent redundant print jobs that result in wasted paper and ink because of abandoned documents.

Go paperless

Implementing a document management solution that reduces paper consumption is an effective way to save money. It may not be possible in every department, but those who can do their jobs without printing should be encouraged to do so. Printing lengthy email chains that can be discussed in a meeting is just one example of wasteful practices that should be avoided. And for businesses that have shifted to a work from home setup, going paperless makes total sense.

Reduce IT support calls for printing issues

Calling on an in-house IT technician to assist with problems like paper jams, printer Wi-Fi issues, and other concerns probably does more harm than good in terms of productivity. You and your IT personnel could avoid dealing with these productivity killers by identifying the problem areas of your print environment. Then, you can work on solutions specific to your office, such as drafting a printing workflow or getting help from document management experts who can recommend time- and budget-saving solutions.

Partnering with experts to manage your IT workflow will make your day-to-day operations more efficient and save money on printing costs. Our specialists will gladly recommend best practices and tips on document management. Call us today.

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Save on printing costs with these 5 tips

Many small and large enterprises don’t realize that they are using inefficient printing hardware and processes that lead to unnecessary expenses. To manage your printing needs efficiently and minimize your spending, follow these tips.

Replace outdated printers

Your years-old printer may still be getting the job done, but they may be taking a bit out of your IT budget.

Any piece of equipment that is five years old (or older) requires frequent maintenance and causes more trouble than it’s worth. Because old printers are no longer under warranty, fixing them is costly and challenging. It’s also difficult to find replacement parts for old printers because manufacturers have stopped producing them.

When you replace outdated printers with newer, multifunctional ones, you’re investing in hardware that will pay for itself with increases in productivity and efficiency.

Avoid purchasing unnecessary supplies

A poorly managed printer system will result in a stockpile of cartridges, toners, and reams of paper. This happens when, for example, an employee mistakes a basic malfunction for a lack of ink and then makes an unnecessary supply request. This is more common than you may think, and definitely more expensive.

Even without a dedicated printer manager, you can avoid this situation by automating supply replacement. Assign a point person to proactively place orders when supplies are about to run out to avoid ordering items that are still in stock.

Impose strict process workflows

Submitting expense reports, filing trip reimbursements, and other administrative tasks require a proper document workflow. Without proper guidelines, employees and administrative staff end up printing unnecessary documents.

Implementing a printing process workflow can reduce or prevent redundant print jobs that result in wasted paper and ink because of abandoned documents.

Go paperless

Implementing a document management solution that reduces paper consumption is an effective way to save money. It may not be possible in every department, but those who can do their jobs without printing should be encouraged to do so. Printing lengthy email chains that can be discussed in a meeting is just one example of wasteful practices that should be avoided. And for businesses that have shifted to a work from home setup, going paperless makes total sense.

Reduce IT support calls for printing issues

Calling on an in-house IT technician to assist with problems like paper jams, printer Wi-Fi issues, and other concerns probably does more harm than good in terms of productivity. You and your IT personnel could avoid dealing with these productivity killers by identifying the problem areas of your print environment. Then, you can work on solutions specific to your office, such as drafting a printing workflow or getting help from document management experts who can recommend time- and budget-saving solutions.

Partnering with experts to manage your IT workflow will make your day-to-day operations more efficient and save money on printing costs. Our specialists will gladly recommend best practices and tips on document management. Call us today.

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The advantages of unified communications for small businesses

Companies looking for an approachable, affordable, and reliable upgrade to business processes are turning to unified communications (UC) to improve their information systems. UC is cheaper than ever to deploy, and its simplicity attracts business leaders formerly reluctant to adopt new technologies.

What is unified communications?

UC allows you to manage all your communications as one piece of architecture rather than as several different components patched together. It integrates computer-related communication technologies like instant messaging and video conferencing with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which allows you to make and receive calls using the internet.

What can be integrated?

Just about every medium of communication can be integrated. This includes voice communication in all its forms — voicemail, phone calls, voice memos, and the like — as well as multimedia services like video chat and web conferencing. Real-time communication like call screening and call conferencing can also be integrated. Even data services and transactions like eCommerce and online banking can be added to a UC system.

What are the benefits of UC to small businesses?

One of the most evident benefits is having a single and flexible communication infrastructure that allows you to streamline and enhance business communication and easily manage all the components.

Features can be easily scaled up or down to support your business needs. Other benefits include:

Hypermobility

UC enables you to access your files via a wide array of smart devices, like laptops, smartphones, tablets, and more. This means you can create your office environment and satisfy customers from anywhere you please. This opens up a world of opportunity for real-time collaboration and remote work.

Improved productivity

Productivity-enhancing communication features, like call info, call routing, and more, gives staff the ability to work more efficiently and better tend to customers’ needs. Web and video conferencing calls, for instance, not only allow for real-time interactivity, but also for better collaboration. Delayed response times and gaps between dispersed teams are also minimized.

Real-time updates

Real-time presence updates share users’ location and contact information — provided that you authorize the use of this feature. This way, you can get the right information from the right person when you need it.

Single point of contact

Clearly defined points of contact ensure that stakeholders can reach you by email, phone, SMS, etc., whether they are reaching out to you from a softphone, an IP phone, email, or IM.

Reduced costs

UC eliminates travel costs and lowers phone bills since it uses the internet to make calls. It also limits the need for expensive on-site hardware, as one UC server keeps everyone connected using the aforementioned communication features.

Even better, you can potentially save thousands of dollars on office overheads by allowing employees to work from home since they’ll remain connected with their softphones even when they’re not in the office.

It’s only a matter of time before unified communications becomes the norm for day-to-day office interactions. If you’re interested in learning more about how UC or VoIP can transform your business, just give us a call. We’ll answer your questions and help you devise an integration strategy for your business.

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