Business impacts of the coronavirus disease

Consumers and businesses are already dealing with the huge impact of COVID-19. As governments and private businesses continue to find ways to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, they turn to all available technology resources. In the long term, expect the following changes in the use of technology.

Increased reliance on communications technology
The need for remote interactions and stronger communications technology will inevitably increase. Businesses are expected to immediately adopt things like 5G technology to enhance communication speeds and performance.

Meanwhile, specific industries like healthcare will adopt technologies that optimize current processes. This includes using telehealth platforms that will let healthcare providers diagnose and issue prescriptions remotely. To do that, they need 5G-powered systems that will efficiently facilitate consultations.

Many companies have already shifted to remote work setups. Business leaders now and in the foreseeable future will use more platforms that efficiently facilitate collaboration with colleagues, business partners, and customers. Tools that will let them achieve this include teleconferencing solutions like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and others.

Digital ways to network
Now that many businesses of all sizes have shifted to remote work, it follows that events, conferences, and a variety of gatherings worldwide such as tech conferences have been canceled. This is to curb the fast spread of the coronavirus.

Certain organizations will forgo in-person networking events and business meetings and will explore online avenues to maintain business opportunities. Again, this could mean turning to telecommunications tech that offers reliable connectivity and fast speeds.

A boost in cashless transactions
Paying in cash is quickly becoming a thing of the past due to recommendations of healthcare authorities like the World Health Organization (WHO). This is to limit the spread of the virus that can spread through cash. More than ever, businesses must explore ways to implement measures that restrict cash payments, if not eliminate them altogether.

In other words, contactless payments will now be the norm in many countries around the world. This certainly applies to small businesses, too. Because of the pandemic, businesses across industries are expected to quickly adopt mobile payments and other forms of electronic payments.

Growth in eCommerce
As the general public drastically limits time spent outdoors, brick-and-mortar stores experience less and less foot traffic. Businesses that have adapted to new ways of product and service delivery would find themselves increasingly maximizing online purchase options for their customers.

However, the logistics involved in delivering goods and services could prove overwhelming for many businesses. For instance, they may have to adjust order fulfillment models to align with shifting demands. That could mean increasing the workforce in charge of eCommerce operations. Therefore, those that are able to boost their online shopping operations must take steps to enhance their online selling capabilities to meet unpredictable surges in demand.

In a time of crisis, businesses must explore the many ways technology can help sustain operations; whether it be in terms of maintaining communications, delivering goods and services, and gearing up for a drastically changed future.

Call our IT experts today and let us know how you want your tech resources to aid you in these tough times.

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COVID-19’s huge impact on businesses

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting individuals and businesses worldwide. As COVID-19 continues to spread, the private and public sectors are exerting great efforts to cope with present and future challenges. This includes leveraging technology resources. Here are some of the ways the pandemic will impact technology use.

Increased reliance on communications technology
The need for remote interactions and stronger communications technology will inevitably increase. Businesses are expected to immediately adopt things like 5G technology to enhance communication speeds and performance.

Meanwhile, specific industries like healthcare will adopt technologies that optimize current processes. This includes using telehealth platforms that will let healthcare providers diagnose and issue prescriptions remotely. To do that, they need 5G-powered systems that will efficiently facilitate consultations.

Many companies have already shifted to remote work setups. Business leaders now and in the foreseeable future will use more platforms that efficiently facilitate collaboration with colleagues, business partners, and customers. Tools that will let them achieve this include teleconferencing solutions like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and others.

Digital ways to network
Now that many businesses of all sizes have shifted to remote work, it follows that events, conferences, and a variety of gatherings worldwide such as tech conferences have been canceled. This is to curb the fast spread of the coronavirus.

Certain organizations will forgo in-person networking events and business meetings and will explore online avenues to maintain business opportunities. Again, this could mean turning to telecommunications tech that offers reliable connectivity and fast speeds.

A boost in cashless transactions
Paying in cash is quickly becoming a thing of the past due to recommendations of healthcare authorities like the World Health Organization (WHO). This is to limit the spread of the virus that can spread through cash. More than ever, businesses must explore ways to implement measures that restrict cash payments, if not eliminate them altogether.

In other words, contactless payments will now be the norm in many countries around the world. This certainly applies to small businesses, too. Because of the pandemic, businesses across industries are expected to quickly adopt mobile payments and other forms of electronic payments.

Growth in eCommerce
As the general public drastically limits time spent outdoors, brick-and-mortar stores experience less and less foot traffic. Businesses that have adapted to new ways of product and service delivery would find themselves increasingly maximizing online purchase options for their customers.

However, the logistics involved in delivering goods and services could prove overwhelming for many businesses. For instance, they may have to adjust order fulfillment models to align with shifting demands. That could mean increasing the workforce in charge of eCommerce operations. Therefore, those that are able to boost their online shopping operations must take steps to enhance their online selling capabilities to meet unpredictable surges in demand.

In a time of crisis, businesses must explore the many ways technology can help sustain operations; whether it be in terms of maintaining communications, delivering goods and services, and gearing up for a drastically changed future.

Call our IT experts today and let us know how you want your tech resources to aid you in these tough times.

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

Microsoft Teams boosts productivity in spite of COVID-19

Microsoft recently released several updates to its Teams platform, enabling users to take advantage of its advanced features to effectively communicate with each other. The changes were made in response to the soaring need for business owners and their staff to collaborate remotely amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams combines workplace chat, video conferencing, and file storage and collaboration. It also has extensions that integrate with third-party apps, even those not made by Microsoft. As a unified communication and collaboration platform, Teams is like combining Slack, Google Drive, and Zoom into a single app.

How do you get Microsoft Teams?

If you have an Office 365 license, then you can readily access Microsoft Teams. But that’s not the only way to access and take advantage of the platform.

Individual users can use their work or school email address to sign up through this link. You will automatically receive a license valid until January 2021. This license lets you take advantage of chat, screen sharing and recording, video meetings with up to 250 participants, and Live Events for up to 10,000 participants.

If you have a Gmail or Outlook email address, you can sign up for the freemium version by clicking on this link. This version supports chat as well as group and one-on-one audio or video calling. It also gives you 10 GB of team file storage and 2 GB of personal file storage.

The previous freemium version used to have various limits on users, but Microsoft opted to lift these restrictions on March 10. Another notable change is the inclusion of meetings requests, which Microsoft has committed to include in the freemium version in the future.

Microsoft also offers assistance to IT professionals looking to roll out Teams for their company. Microsoft offers a free Office 365 E1 for six months. All you have to do is to contact your Microsoft partner or sales representative.

If you work in the education sector , Microsoft recommends getting Office 365 A1, a free version specially created for educational institutions. This version is available for students, teachers, and administrative staff.

How does Microsoft Teams remain at peak performance during the crisis?

The sudden increase in remote workers is sure to put a lot of pressure on many platforms, but Microsoft Teams is more than prepared to handle the load. In particular, it is designed to anticipate problems on three core aspects:

  • Systems during a sudden surge in usage
  • Location during an area-specific event, such as a hurricane
  • People during an event that affects users, such as COVID-19

To address problems in these aspects, Microsoft implements what is called an Active/Active Design. This means that the system uses multiple instances in response to user request or input. These instances run in different datacenters, which means that an event that affects one cannot affect the others. This enables the system to isolate problems and resolve them without affecting performance.

Microsoft Teams offers a great opportunity for companies to remain productive in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you want to get started or understand how you can take full advantage of its functionalities, just give us a call.

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Stay productive despite COVID-19 with Microsoft Teams

More and more people are forced to work from home to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic. But Microsoft Teams is rising to meet the needs of affected companies. This powerful tool recently underwent several changes to make it easier for its users to effectively collaborate and communicate with each other.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams combines workplace chat, video conferencing, and file storage and collaboration. It also has extensions that integrate with third-party apps, even those not made by Microsoft. As a unified communication and collaboration platform, Teams is like combining Slack, Google Drive, and Zoom into a single app.

How do you get Microsoft Teams?

If you have an Office 365 license, then you can readily access Microsoft Teams. But that’s not the only way to access and take advantage of the platform.

Individual users can use their work or school email address to sign up through this link. You will automatically receive a license valid until January 2021. This license lets you take advantage of chat, screen sharing and recording, video meetings with up to 250 participants, and Live Events for up to 10,000 participants.

If you have a Gmail or Outlook email address, you can sign up for the freemium version by clicking on this link. This version supports chat as well as group and one-on-one audio or video calling. It also gives you 10 GB of team file storage and 2 GB of personal file storage.

The previous freemium version used to have various limits on users, but Microsoft opted to lift these restrictions on March 10. Another notable change is the inclusion of meetings requests, which Microsoft has committed to include in the freemium version in the future.

Microsoft also offers assistance to IT professionals looking to roll out Teams for their company. Microsoft offers a free Office 365 E1 for six months. All you have to do is to contact your Microsoft partner or sales representative.

If you work in the education sector , Microsoft recommends getting Office 365 A1, a free version specially created for educational institutions. This version is available for students, teachers, and administrative staff.

How does Microsoft Teams remain at peak performance during the crisis?

The sudden increase in remote workers is sure to put a lot of pressure on many platforms, but Microsoft Teams is more than prepared to handle the load. In particular, it is designed to anticipate problems on three core aspects:

  • Systems during a sudden surge in usage
  • Location during an area-specific event, such as a hurricane
  • People during an event that affects users, such as COVID-19

To address problems in these aspects, Microsoft implements what is called an Active/Active Design. This means that the system uses multiple instances in response to user request or input. These instances run in different datacenters, which means that an event that affects one cannot affect the others. This enables the system to isolate problems and resolve them without affecting performance.

Microsoft Teams offers a great opportunity for companies to remain productive in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you want to get started or understand how you can take full advantage of its functionalities, just give us a call.

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Work remotely, effectively with Microsoft Teams

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing employees to work from home, you and your staff can take advantage of Microsoft Teams to stay productive. Microsoft recently enhanced this already powerful tool’s capabilities, making it easier for more people to take advantage of its advanced features.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams combines workplace chat, video conferencing, and file storage and collaboration. It also has extensions that integrate with third-party apps, even those not made by Microsoft. As a unified communication and collaboration platform, Teams is like combining Slack, Google Drive, and Zoom into a single app.

How do you get Microsoft Teams?

If you have an Office 365 license, then you can readily access Microsoft Teams. But that’s not the only way to access and take advantage of the platform.

Individual users can use their work or school email address to sign up through this link. You will automatically receive a license valid until January 2021. This license lets you take advantage of chat, screen sharing and recording, video meetings with up to 250 participants, and Live Events for up to 10,000 participants.

If you have a Gmail or Outlook email address, you can sign up for the freemium version by clicking on this link. This version supports chat as well as group and one-on-one audio or video calling. It also gives you 10 GB of team file storage and 2 GB of personal file storage.

The previous freemium version used to have various limits on users, but Microsoft opted to lift these restrictions on March 10. Another notable change is the inclusion of meetings requests, which Microsoft has committed to include in the freemium version in the future.

Microsoft also offers assistance to IT professionals looking to roll out Teams for their company. Microsoft offers a free Office 365 E1 for six months. All you have to do is to contact your Microsoft partner or sales representative.

If you work in the education sector , Microsoft recommends getting Office 365 A1, a free version specially created for educational institutions. This version is available for students, teachers, and administrative staff.

How does Microsoft Teams remain at peak performance during the crisis?

The sudden increase in remote workers is sure to put a lot of pressure on many platforms, but Microsoft Teams is more than prepared to handle the load. In particular, it is designed to anticipate problems on three core aspects:

  • Systems during a sudden surge in usage
  • Location during an area-specific event, such as a hurricane
  • People during an event that affects users, such as COVID-19

To address problems in these aspects, Microsoft implements what is called an Active/Active Design. This means that the system uses multiple instances in response to user request or input. These instances run in different datacenters, which means that an event that affects one cannot affect the others. This enables the system to isolate problems and resolve them without affecting performance.

Microsoft Teams offers a great opportunity for companies to remain productive in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you want to get started or understand how you can take full advantage of its functionalities, just give us a call.

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

Autocomplete password risks

Web browsers come with features to improve user experience. One of the most popular ones is auto-fill passwords. These are designed for users to store and automatically use their account credentials to access websites and other applications. While auto-fill passwords are convenient, they come with security risks. Read more.

Why auto-fill passwords are so dangerous

Certain web browsers have integrated features that enable usernames and passwords to be automatically entered into a web form. There are also password manager applications that have made it easy to access login credentials. But these aren’t completely safe. They can become a liability if hackers gain access to computers or browsers.

For example, if a hacker gains access to just one account, it’ll be easier for them to obtain access to other accounts because the autocomplete feature will fill in all other saved credentials.

Tricking a browser or password manager into giving up saved information is incredibly simple. All a hacker needs to do is place an invisible form on a compromised webpage to collect users’ login information.

Using auto-fill to track users

For over a decade, there’s been a password security tug-of-war between hackers and cybersecurity professionals. Little do users know that shrewd digital marketers also use password auto-fill to track user activity.

Digital marketing groups AdThink and OnAudience have been placing these invisible login forms on websites to monitor the sites that users visit. AdThink and OnAudience track people based on the usernames in hidden auto-fill forms and sell the information they gather to advertisers. While the intention is not to steal passwords, there’s always the likelihood of exposure.

One simple security tip for today

A quick and effective way to improve your account security is to turn off auto-fill in your web browser. Here’s how to do it:

  • If you’re using Chrome – Open the Settings window, click Advanced, and select the appropriate settings under Manage Passwords.
  • If you’re using Firefox – Open the Options window, click Privacy, and under the History heading, select “Firefox will: Use custom settings for history.” In the new window, disable “Remember search and form history.”
  • If you’re using Safari – Open the Preferences window, select the Auto-fill tab, and turn off all the features related to usernames and passwords.

Being cautious about your password security habits can go a long way in protecting your sensitive data. For managed, 24/7 cybersecurity assistance that goes far beyond protecting your privacy, call us today.

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The risks of autocomplete passwords

Hackers may have found another way of tracking you via seemingly harmless autocomplete passwords. Here’s what you need to know.

Why auto-fill passwords are so dangerous

Certain web browsers have integrated features that enable usernames and passwords to be automatically entered into a web form. There are also password manager applications that have made it easy to access login credentials. But these aren’t completely safe. They can become a liability if hackers gain access to computers or browsers.

For example, if a hacker gains access to just one account, it’ll be easier for them to obtain access to other accounts because the autocomplete feature will fill in all other saved credentials.

Tricking a browser or password manager into giving up saved information is incredibly simple. All a hacker needs to do is place an invisible form on a compromised webpage to collect users’ login information.

Using auto-fill to track users

For over a decade, there’s been a password security tug-of-war between hackers and cybersecurity professionals. Little do users know that shrewd digital marketers also use password auto-fill to track user activity.

Digital marketing groups AdThink and OnAudience have been placing these invisible login forms on websites to monitor the sites that users visit. AdThink and OnAudience track people based on the usernames in hidden auto-fill forms and sell the information they gather to advertisers. While the intention is not to steal passwords, there’s always the likelihood of exposure.

One simple security tip for today

A quick and effective way to improve your account security is to turn off auto-fill in your web browser. Here’s how to do it:

  • If you’re using Chrome – Open the Settings window, click Advanced, and select the appropriate settings under Manage Passwords.
  • If you’re using Firefox – Open the Options window, click Privacy, and under the History heading, select “Firefox will: Use custom settings for history.” In the new window, disable “Remember search and form history.”
  • If you’re using Safari – Open the Preferences window, select the Auto-fill tab, and turn off all the features related to usernames and passwords.

Being cautious about your password security habits can go a long way in protecting your sensitive data. For managed, 24/7 cybersecurity assistance that goes far beyond protecting your privacy, call us today.

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

Why autocomplete passwords are risky

Many people use auto-fill passwords for their convenience. What you might not know is that hackers and advertisers can use them to get access to websites and other applications and gather sensitive information. Learn more about the risks of using autocomplete passwords.

Why auto-fill passwords are so dangerous

Certain web browsers have integrated features that enable usernames and passwords to be automatically entered into a web form. There are also password manager applications that have made it easy to access login credentials. But these aren’t completely safe. They can become a liability if hackers gain access to computers or browsers.

For example, if a hacker gains access to just one account, it’ll be easier for them to obtain access to other accounts because the autocomplete feature will fill in all other saved credentials.

Tricking a browser or password manager into giving up saved information is incredibly simple. All a hacker needs to do is place an invisible form on a compromised webpage to collect users’ login information.

Using auto-fill to track users

For over a decade, there’s been a password security tug-of-war between hackers and cybersecurity professionals. Little do users know that shrewd digital marketers also use password auto-fill to track user activity.

Digital marketing groups AdThink and OnAudience have been placing these invisible login forms on websites to monitor the sites that users visit. AdThink and OnAudience track people based on the usernames in hidden auto-fill forms and sell the information they gather to advertisers. While the intention is not to steal passwords, there’s always the likelihood of exposure.

One simple security tip for today

A quick and effective way to improve your account security is to turn off auto-fill in your web browser. Here’s how to do it:

  • If you’re using Chrome – Open the Settings window, click Advanced, and select the appropriate settings under Manage Passwords.
  • If you’re using Firefox – Open the Options window, click Privacy, and under the History heading, select “Firefox will: Use custom settings for history.” In the new window, disable “Remember search and form history.”
  • If you’re using Safari – Open the Preferences window, select the Auto-fill tab, and turn off all the features related to usernames and passwords.

Being cautious about your password security habits can go a long way in protecting your sensitive data. For managed, 24/7 cybersecurity assistance that goes far beyond protecting your privacy, call us today.

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

7 Ways to avoid getting stuck when working remotely

Companies across the globe are now looking into remote work to keep their employees safe from the coronavirus pandemic. Today’s technology allows you to collaborate and communicate with your team from the comfort of your home. However, working remotely means there may be times when it is difficult to keep your day interesting and you might get “stuck” in the same routine, leading to burnout and even depression. Here are some ways you can inject some fun into your day.

#1 Dress up for work

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you don’t have to look professional. As strange as it may sound, planning what you’ll wear while working remotely can help you be more productive and take out the rut from wearing sweatpants and hoodies every day.

#2 Motivate your brain

Before you start your workday at home, you need to get your brain moving in the right direction. Author Ayn Rand suggests doing something that involves judgment, discrimination, and awareness, such as walking your dog, meditating, reading a good book, or trying out a new recipe. Keep routine chores and choices to a minimum, as they can lead to decision fatigue.

#3 Go outside

This may seem like it defeats the purpose of working remotely, but going out at least once every 24 hours can help you avoid developing the hermit habit. You don’t have to go somewhere far. Take a morning walk and get some fresh air. Performing moderate exercises regularly can help improve productivity and can lead to a better work-life balance. If certain restrictions such as a lockdown or quarantine are implemented, you can take short walks around your house as an alternative. If you have your own exercise equipment, take the time for short workouts so you can insert some physical activity into your workday.

#4 Listen to new music

People often underestimate the power of music. Studies have shown that listening to new music is beneficial for your brain. Discovering new music helps activate the part of your brain responsible for making you feel excited and rewarded. The same study shows that people who listen to new music are more receptive to learning new things.

#5 Don’t skip your breaks

A key part of being productive while working remotely is remembering to take breaks. However, this is easy to forget, especially if you’re too focused on your work. To ensure you don’t skip out on your breaks, place the things you need out of reach. One example is keeping your phone in another room, forcing you to get up and check it when it rings.

Keep snacks and drinks away from your work area. This will help prevent you from bonding too much with your home office chair. If you find it hard to take periodic breaks, create reminders that tell you to get up and do a certain task that will break your concentration for a few minutes.

#6 Watch your favorite shows

If remote work is making you feel lonely, try watching some of your favorite shows. Studies have shown that watching shows you love promotes a feeling of social surrogacy. It simply means that watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Friends, or whatever your preferred show is can help you experience a feeling of belonging and make you feel less lonely.

#7 No one’s watching

If remote work is burning you out or making you feel like you’re in a rut, remember, no one is watching you. Try dancing by yourself or playing an instrument if you have one. This can help you loosen up and take the edge away.

These tips are just some of the ways you can create a daily routine that will prevent you from developing the hermit habit. If you want to learn more about working effectively at home, give us a call today.

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7 Tips to prevent hermit habits when working at home

Working remotely comes with many benefits, such as saving you time and money on commuting, dealing less with office politics, having less stress at home, and reducing your risk of getting infected with the coronavirus. However, if you get too settled, you might experience what’s called hermit habit. Hermit habit is a term used to describe remote workers who become too settled with their remote job. So much so that they forget to do regular activities such as go outside, buy food and supplies, and engage in any physical activity.

Here are some tips to help you avoid it.

#1 Dress up for work

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you don’t have to look professional. As strange as it may sound, planning what you’ll wear while working remotely can help you be more productive and take out the rut from wearing sweatpants and hoodies every day.

#2 Motivate your brain

Before you start your workday at home, you need to get your brain moving in the right direction. Author Ayn Rand suggests doing something that involves judgment, discrimination, and awareness, such as walking your dog, meditating, reading a good book, or trying out a new recipe. Keep routine chores and choices to a minimum, as they can lead to decision fatigue.

#3 Go outside

This may seem like it defeats the purpose of working remotely, but going out at least once every 24 hours can help you avoid developing the hermit habit. You don’t have to go somewhere far. Take a morning walk and get some fresh air. Performing moderate exercises regularly can help improve productivity and can lead to a better work-life balance. If certain restrictions such as a lockdown or quarantine are implemented, you can take short walks around your house as an alternative. If you have your own exercise equipment, take the time for short workouts so you can insert some physical activity into your workday.

#4 Listen to new music

People often underestimate the power of music. Studies have shown that listening to new music is beneficial for your brain. Discovering new music helps activate the part of your brain responsible for making you feel excited and rewarded. The same study shows that people who listen to new music are more receptive to learning new things.

#5 Don’t skip your breaks

A key part of being productive while working remotely is remembering to take breaks. However, this is easy to forget, especially if you’re too focused on your work. To ensure you don’t skip out on your breaks, place the things you need out of reach. One example is keeping your phone in another room, forcing you to get up and check it when it rings.

Keep snacks and drinks away from your work area. This will help prevent you from bonding too much with your home office chair. If you find it hard to take periodic breaks, create reminders that tell you to get up and do a certain task that will break your concentration for a few minutes.

#6 Watch your favorite shows

If remote work is making you feel lonely, try watching some of your favorite shows. Studies have shown that watching shows you love promotes a feeling of social surrogacy. It simply means that watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Friends, or whatever your preferred show is can help you experience a feeling of belonging and make you feel less lonely.

#7 No one’s watching

If remote work is burning you out or making you feel like you’re in a rut, remember, no one is watching you. Try dancing by yourself or playing an instrument if you have one. This can help you loosen up and take the edge away.

These tips are just some of the ways you can create a daily routine that will prevent you from developing the hermit habit. If you want to learn more about working effectively at home, give us a call today.

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