Mobile devices in the field

Field workers. You see them every day. And you notice that they, too, use mobile devices, as now more than ever do they need to stay connected with their organizations to stay in business. This is where mobile performance management, a critical factor for any field worker to perform and finish tasks on time, comes in. Here’s how to ensure connectivity for these workers.

The ability to manage the workforce out in the field requires a modern support infrastructure called mobile performance management. It includes the top five tips to keep field workers connected: optimizing traffic, applying control, measuring performance analytics, simplifying data security, and identifying the root cause of connectivity issues.

Optimize

Although the latest apps on the market can maximize productivity for the mobile workforce, these apps come with a certain risks: stability issues that could lead to the apps crashing while out in the field. If you are your company’s IT decision-maker, be cautious of untested apps, and consider blocking heavy bandwidth apps to streamline data flow when signal strength is weak.

Control

Another thing you can do with mobile performance management solutions is blocking personal apps and unsafe WiFi networks. Both of these create serious security risks that could lead to costly data theft or loss.

Analyzing performance

Field workers mostly rely on GPS location data for more efficient scheduling, route-planning, and effective control of fuel consumption. This is possible only if there are reporting tools that confirm that the GPS capability is working. Performance analytics show you what mobile workers are experiencing, gaining access to robust data, network and app usage reports, inventory analysis, coverage maps and device maps as needed.

Simplify security

IT should tightly restrict access without making security complicated for mobile workers. IT administrators need to create a highly flexible and programmable secure mobile strategy. You must be able to restrict which apps can access company data and remotely wipe data from the device if it is lost or stolen.

Identifying the root cause of connection issues

Obviously, field workers are not IT experts, so organizations need to be fully prepared for connectivity issues involving their mobile devices. Organizations of all sizes should be able to afford remote diagnostics to gather complete troubleshooting information to allow IT to identify the root cause of the problem quickly, without relying on workers, who have no idea about how to run tests and answer questions regarding these issues.

For any organization with workers in the field, the ability to implement performance management structures and policies is a must. For other tips on how to keep your employees connected, engaged, and efficient, give us a call and we’ll be happy to advise.

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How connectivity impacts mobile workers

Mobile devices, such as smartphones and laptops, have changed the landscape of business organizations everywhere. Nowadays, businesses arm their workers with these devices in the field, making mobile performance and connectivity highly essential. Optimizing IT systems for mobile workers isn’t easy, but there are a few simple tricks you can try.

The ability to manage the workforce out in the field requires a modern support infrastructure called mobile performance management. It includes the top five tips to keep field workers connected: optimizing traffic, applying control, measuring performance analytics, simplifying data security, and identifying the root cause of connectivity issues.

Optimize

Although the latest apps on the market can maximize productivity for the mobile workforce, these apps come with a certain risks: stability issues that could lead to the apps crashing while out in the field. If you are your company’s IT decision-maker, be cautious of untested apps, and consider blocking heavy bandwidth apps to streamline data flow when signal strength is weak.

Control

Another thing you can do with mobile performance management solutions is blocking personal apps and unsafe WiFi networks. Both of these create serious security risks that could lead to costly data theft or loss.

Analyzing performance

Field workers mostly rely on GPS location data for more efficient scheduling, route-planning, and effective control of fuel consumption. This is possible only if there are reporting tools that confirm that the GPS capability is working. Performance analytics show you what mobile workers are experiencing, gaining access to robust data, network and app usage reports, inventory analysis, coverage maps and device maps as needed.

Simplify security

IT should tightly restrict access without making security complicated for mobile workers. IT administrators need to create a highly flexible and programmable secure mobile strategy. You must be able to restrict which apps can access company data and remotely wipe data from the device if it is lost or stolen.

Identifying the root cause of connection issues

Obviously, field workers are not IT experts, so organizations need to be fully prepared for connectivity issues involving their mobile devices. Organizations of all sizes should be able to afford remote diagnostics to gather complete troubleshooting information to allow IT to identify the root cause of the problem quickly, without relying on workers, who have no idea about how to run tests and answer questions regarding these issues.

For any organization with workers in the field, the ability to implement performance management structures and policies is a must. For other tips on how to keep your employees connected, engaged, and efficient, give us a call and we’ll be happy to advise.

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

5 tips on keeping mobile workers connected

Due to increasing connectivity and technological advances, mobile workers are increasingly becoming the norm in almost every industry. Business owners need to ensure these workers stay connected, so we’ve got some helpful tips in how to effectively apply mobile performance management.

The ability to manage the workforce out in the field requires a modern support infrastructure called mobile performance management. It includes the top five tips to keep field workers connected: optimizing traffic, applying control, measuring performance analytics, simplifying data security, and identifying the root cause of connectivity issues.

Optimize

Although the latest apps on the market can maximize productivity for the mobile workforce, these apps come with a certain risks: stability issues that could lead to the apps crashing while out in the field. If you are your company’s IT decision-maker, be cautious of untested apps, and consider blocking heavy bandwidth apps to streamline data flow when signal strength is weak.

Control

Another thing you can do with mobile performance management solutions is blocking personal apps and unsafe WiFi networks. Both of these create serious security risks that could lead to costly data theft or loss.

Analyzing performance

Field workers mostly rely on GPS location data for more efficient scheduling, route-planning, and effective control of fuel consumption. This is possible only if there are reporting tools that confirm that the GPS capability is working. Performance analytics show you what mobile workers are experiencing, gaining access to robust data, network and app usage reports, inventory analysis, coverage maps and device maps as needed.

Simplify security

IT should tightly restrict access without making security complicated for mobile workers. IT administrators need to create a highly flexible and programmable secure mobile strategy. You must be able to restrict which apps can access company data and remotely wipe data from the device if it is lost or stolen.

Identifying the root cause of connection issues

Obviously, field workers are not IT experts, so organizations need to be fully prepared for connectivity issues involving their mobile devices. Organizations of all sizes should be able to afford remote diagnostics to gather complete troubleshooting information to allow IT to identify the root cause of the problem quickly, without relying on workers, who have no idea about how to run tests and answer questions regarding these issues.

For any organization with workers in the field, the ability to implement performance management structures and policies is a must. For other tips on how to keep your employees connected, engaged, and efficient, give us a call and we’ll be happy to advise.

Posted in Business, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Android phone makers skip critical updates

Watch out Android users, your smartphone may not be as secure as you thought it was. A study has found that a few Android manufacturers may have accidentally skipped crucial software updates despite saying they constantly keep their products up to date. Here’s a quick rundown.

Missed patches
Every month, Google rolls out a new batch of Android bug fixes and critical security updates. These patches are available to Google Pixel phones almost immediately, but many third-party manufacturers are often months behind. When it does arrive, you should theoretically be protected from every recently discovered threat.

After extensively researching 1,200 different smartphones, however, Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell of Security Research Labs discovered that even though certain phones were considered “up to date,” they didn’t have all the bug fixes and security updates listed on the patch notes. In other words, smartphone vendors often missed important patches.

The study found that, on average, Sony, Samsung, and Google occasionally missed a patch but were generally more secure than other vendors like Nokia, Motorola, HTC, LG, and Huawei that skipped several important updates.

According to manufacturers, these missed updates are purely accidental. Since there are so many updates to install every month, manufacturers can easily lose track and may even skip quality control checks just to keep up.

But as we’ve seen time and again, small accidents can lead to massive-scale breaches. Unlike most Android consumers, who usually don’t think twice about the updates they’re installing, hackers always read patch notes and attempt to find weaknesses to exploit.

The solution
Fortunately, Security Research Labs released SnoopSnitch, a firmware analysis app that checks whether your Android phone is missing any security patches. If your phone model did miss a few patches, the app will record the data and send it to the device manufacturer so they can create a fix as soon as possible.

Experts also say that users shouldn’t panic if they notice a missing patch and there are no updates available from their device manufacturer. Good security practices like avoiding suspicious emails and software from the Play Store will generally keep you safe from a wide array of attacks. What’s more, you should enable multi-factor authentication (using both a passcode and biometric scan to access your device) whenever possible to prevent account hijacking.

On Google’s end, they’re working on streamlining the patching process for manufacturers and creating even stronger security measures that will prevent hackers from gaining a foothold into your device.

Nevertheless, you should still update your Android devices as soon as they become available if you want to avoid a disastrous breach. And if you feel overwhelmed with managing security patches, don’t worry! Just call us today and we’ll help you out.

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

Is your Android phone really up to date?

To fend off the latest cyberattacks, Android phone manufacturers claim they always stay on top of bug fixes and security patches. But in light of recent reports, you may not want to take their word for it. Researchers say some popular Android vendors have missed quite a few important patches. If you’re an Android user, read on to find out whether you should be worried.

Missed patches
Every month, Google rolls out a new batch of Android bug fixes and critical security updates. These patches are available to Google Pixel phones almost immediately, but many third-party manufacturers are often months behind. When it does arrive, you should theoretically be protected from every recently discovered threat.

After extensively researching 1,200 different smartphones, however, Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell of Security Research Labs discovered that even though certain phones were considered “up to date,” they didn’t have all the bug fixes and security updates listed on the patch notes. In other words, smartphone vendors often missed important patches.

The study found that, on average, Sony, Samsung, and Google occasionally missed a patch but were generally more secure than other vendors like Nokia, Motorola, HTC, LG, and Huawei that skipped several important updates.

According to manufacturers, these missed updates are purely accidental. Since there are so many updates to install every month, manufacturers can easily lose track and may even skip quality control checks just to keep up.

But as we’ve seen time and again, small accidents can lead to massive-scale breaches. Unlike most Android consumers, who usually don’t think twice about the updates they’re installing, hackers always read patch notes and attempt to find weaknesses to exploit.

The solution
Fortunately, Security Research Labs released SnoopSnitch, a firmware analysis app that checks whether your Android phone is missing any security patches. If your phone model did miss a few patches, the app will record the data and send it to the device manufacturer so they can create a fix as soon as possible.

Experts also say that users shouldn’t panic if they notice a missing patch and there are no updates available from their device manufacturer. Good security practices like avoiding suspicious emails and software from the Play Store will generally keep you safe from a wide array of attacks. What’s more, you should enable multi-factor authentication (using both a passcode and biometric scan to access your device) whenever possible to prevent account hijacking.

On Google’s end, they’re working on streamlining the patching process for manufacturers and creating even stronger security measures that will prevent hackers from gaining a foothold into your device.

Nevertheless, you should still update your Android devices as soon as they become available if you want to avoid a disastrous breach. And if you feel overwhelmed with managing security patches, don’t worry! Just call us today and we’ll help you out.

Posted in Android, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Android phones miss vital security patches

Android manufacturers routinely update their products with the latest security patches to keep users safe from all manner of threats. Or so they would have you believe. According to recent reports, Android phone manufacturers may have accidentally missed a few critical patches. Here’s everything you need to know.

Missed patches
Every month, Google rolls out a new batch of Android bug fixes and critical security updates. These patches are available to Google Pixel phones almost immediately, but many third-party manufacturers are often months behind. When it does arrive, you should theoretically be protected from every recently discovered threat.

After extensively researching 1,200 different smartphones, however, Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell of Security Research Labs discovered that even though certain phones were considered “up to date,” they didn’t have all the bug fixes and security updates listed on the patch notes. In other words, smartphone vendors often missed important patches.

The study found that, on average, Sony, Samsung, and Google occasionally missed a patch but were generally more secure than other vendors like Nokia, Motorola, HTC, LG, and Huawei that skipped several important updates.

According to manufacturers, these missed updates are purely accidental. Since there are so many updates to install every month, manufacturers can easily lose track and may even skip quality control checks just to keep up.

But as we’ve seen time and again, small accidents can lead to massive-scale breaches. Unlike most Android consumers, who usually don’t think twice about the updates they’re installing, hackers always read patch notes and attempt to find weaknesses to exploit.

The solution
Fortunately, Security Research Labs released SnoopSnitch, a firmware analysis app that checks whether your Android phone is missing any security patches. If your phone model did miss a few patches, the app will record the data and send it to the device manufacturer so they can create a fix as soon as possible.

Experts also say that users shouldn’t panic if they notice a missing patch and there are no updates available from their device manufacturer. Good security practices like avoiding suspicious emails and software from the Play Store will generally keep you safe from a wide array of attacks. What’s more, you should enable multi-factor authentication (using both a passcode and biometric scan to access your device) whenever possible to prevent account hijacking.

On Google’s end, they’re working on streamlining the patching process for manufacturers and creating even stronger security measures that will prevent hackers from gaining a foothold into your device.

Nevertheless, you should still update your Android devices as soon as they become available if you want to avoid a disastrous breach. And if you feel overwhelmed with managing security patches, don’t worry! Just call us today and we’ll help you out.

Posted in Android, General Articles A | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Things you didn’t know about virtualization

In the past decade, virtualization has been considered one of the most cost-effective business solutions. It’s supposed to prevent unnecessary hardware purchases and promote effective IT management, but there are some hidden drawbacks with this technology. This is why we’ve uncovered the following management issues that you were previously unaware of.

Backup

Incorporating a robust backup system in a virtualized setting can become a huge challenge. You’d have to determine which data you want to store and how often it should be backed up. You would then have to decide whether you should back up all your virtual machines or just some vital ones that have important apps and data.

In any case, you’ll be caught in a grueling battle because of the overwhelming amount of data that needs to be backed up. The only way to overcome this is to integrate a powerful backup-to-disk solution offered by a reputable managed services provider (MSP).

Security

Security concerns are more complicated in a virtualized setting since you have to monitor security on a couple of tiers: virtual machine security and physical host security.

A compromised physical host security will affect every virtual machine running on this particular host server. Meanwhile, a compromised virtual machine will disrupt the physical server and affect every virtual machine residing on the same host. To address this, you need to set up strong network defenses — including firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, antivirus software, and virtual machine security tool — and a hardened physical security system — in the form of surveillance cameras, locks, biometric scans, and security guards. Of course, if you don’t have the funds to set these up, it may make more sense to leave it to a security-conscious MSP.

Monitoring

Since your team has to oversee both virtual machines and physical servers to ensure that you have a fully operational environment, it does have a few pain points.

First, running a monitoring software on the physical host server is likely to impact the virtual machines’ performance since it takes up valued processing power and memory. That means you’ll need to compute the resources used by your monitoring software and make sure it’s not consuming too much from your physical host server.

Second, keeping tabs on your virtual machines, making sure it’s secure and running at all times, is a full-time job. So unless you have a team of professionals in-house, you’ll definitely need some help from the outside.

Without a doubt, virtualization brings a lot of benefits to the table, but you have to know how it affects every aspect of your business — particularly issues involved in management. Let us show you how you can use it to its full potential. Just give us a call today!

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3 concerns with virtualization management

Virtualization can help boost operational efficiencies like never before, but you have to understand that the benefits aren’t always immediate. As valuable as it is, it does come with flaws to those who don’t know how to properly adopt it. Here are a few concerns that can become an issue in virtualization adoption:

Backup

Incorporating a robust backup system in a virtualized setting can become a huge challenge. You’d have to determine which data you want to store and how often it should be backed up. You would then have to decide whether you should back up all your virtual machines or just some vital ones that have important apps and data.

In any case, you’ll be caught in a grueling battle because of the overwhelming amount of data that needs to be backed up. The only way to overcome this is to integrate a powerful backup-to-disk solution offered by a reputable managed services provider (MSP).

Security

Security concerns are more complicated in a virtualized setting since you have to monitor security on a couple of tiers: virtual machine security and physical host security.

A compromised physical host security will affect every virtual machine running on this particular host server. Meanwhile, a compromised virtual machine will disrupt the physical server and affect every virtual machine residing on the same host. To address this, you need to set up strong network defenses — including firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, antivirus software, and virtual machine security tool — and a hardened physical security system — in the form of surveillance cameras, locks, biometric scans, and security guards. Of course, if you don’t have the funds to set these up, it may make more sense to leave it to a security-conscious MSP.

Monitoring

Since your team has to oversee both virtual machines and physical servers to ensure that you have a fully operational environment, it does have a few pain points.

First, running a monitoring software on the physical host server is likely to impact the virtual machines’ performance since it takes up valued processing power and memory. That means you’ll need to compute the resources used by your monitoring software and make sure it’s not consuming too much from your physical host server.

Second, keeping tabs on your virtual machines, making sure it’s secure and running at all times, is a full-time job. So unless you have a team of professionals in-house, you’ll definitely need some help from the outside.

Without a doubt, virtualization brings a lot of benefits to the table, but you have to know how it affects every aspect of your business — particularly issues involved in management. Let us show you how you can use it to its full potential. Just give us a call today!

Posted in General Articles B, Virtualization | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

The management drawbacks of virtualization

IT managers turn to virtualization to effectively scale down on cost, boost efficiency, and maximize space in their server rooms. Yet, what they didn’t expect were the drawbacks involved in this technology solution. It’s therefore essential that you’re aware of the following management issues before going all in:

Backup

Incorporating a robust backup system in a virtualized setting can become a huge challenge. You’d have to determine which data you want to store and how often it should be backed up. You would then have to decide whether you should back up all your virtual machines or just some vital ones that have important apps and data.

In any case, you’ll be caught in a grueling battle because of the overwhelming amount of data that needs to be backed up. The only way to overcome this is to integrate a powerful backup-to-disk solution offered by a reputable managed services provider (MSP).

Security

Security concerns are more complicated in a virtualized setting since you have to monitor security on a couple of tiers: virtual machine security and physical host security.

A compromised physical host security will affect every virtual machine running on this particular host server. Meanwhile, a compromised virtual machine will disrupt the physical server and affect every virtual machine residing on the same host. To address this, you need to set up strong network defenses — including firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, antivirus software, and virtual machine security tool — and a hardened physical security system — in the form of surveillance cameras, locks, biometric scans, and security guards. Of course, if you don’t have the funds to set these up, it may make more sense to leave it to a security-conscious MSP.

Monitoring

Since your team has to oversee both virtual machines and physical servers to ensure that you have a fully operational environment, it does have a few pain points.

First, running a monitoring software on the physical host server is likely to impact the virtual machines’ performance since it takes up valued processing power and memory. That means you’ll need to compute the resources used by your monitoring software and make sure it’s not consuming too much from your physical host server.

Second, keeping tabs on your virtual machines, making sure it’s secure and running at all times, is a full-time job. So unless you have a team of professionals in-house, you’ll definitely need some help from the outside.

Without a doubt, virtualization brings a lot of benefits to the table, but you have to know how it affects every aspect of your business — particularly issues involved in management. Let us show you how you can use it to its full potential. Just give us a call today!

Posted in General Articles A, Virtualization | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

4 things to do before deploying Skype

From instant messaging to video conferencing, Skype for Business offers many communication features many companies need to be productive. But before you start making calls on Skype, there are four things you should do to ensure crystal-clear quality.

#1. Conduct a preliminary network assessment

By conducting a comprehensive preliminary network assessment, you’ll be able to determine whether or not your current network has met Skype’s network performance requirements.

Its network performance requirements are separated into three categories: latency (the time it takes for a data packet to go from point A to point B), packet loss (the percentage of data packets that fail to reach their destination), and jitter (the average change in delay between successful data packets delivery). You can meet these requirements by applying Quality of Service (QoS) to your network.

QoS allows you to reserve network resources to Skype calls. Doing so enables these types of calls to be transmitted faster over your network, minimizing interruptions and lost connections during your business calls. Deploy QoS on all your networks, including WANs, LANs, and WiFi networks.

If you experience instability even after implementing QoS, download Microsoft’s Bandwidth Calculator to know the exact WAN bandwidth requirements your Skype for Business needs for deployment and adjust your current WAN bandwidth accordingly.

#2. Test out Skype for Business with a small pilot group

Now that you’ve optimized your network, form a small group to test out your Skype for Business. From here, you’ll be able to spot kinks and make appropriate adjustments, determine its benefits, and create best practices. Once all the issues your pilot group flagged have been addressed, you’re ready to deploy Skype for Business to your entire organization.

#3. Prepare the right equipments

Did you know that having high-quality equipment can impact your overall call quality? Although getting the appropriate equipment is costly, having certified, state-of-the-art devices can help you with echo cancellation, noise filtering, higher sound and image resolution, and latency.

Depending on what you’ll be using Skype for, you might only require a headset and webcam or more advanced equipments. A managed services provider (MSP) can help you determine the right equipment you need to ensure high-quality calls.

#4. Research and choose the right technology partners

Last, you should conduct thorough research before deciding on your technology partner for Skype for Business. Although many MSPs offer Skype for Business, they don’t all require and offer the same things. Different MSPs may offer voice and video plans at varying prices. As a result, it is important for you to understand what each MSP offers and whether or not it’ll benefit you before committing to one.

Do you need Skype for Business to make business calls with your colleagues or business partners? Call our experts to learn how we can transform your communication with Skype for Business and get started today!

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