Tech Blog


Work From Home: Revisiting Business Etiquette

mph : May 28, 2020 9:12 pm : Blog Roll

Business etiquette for working in an office environment is well established: show up on time, wear pants, put your name on your lunch in the fridge – those kinds of things. But working from home is a new thing for many people and businesses. These tips for business etiquette for remote work support professionalism.

#1 Watch tone

Making a joke or sarcastic comment to someone via text, online chat, or email is different now. When we’re together in the office setting, we can “read” other cues to determine when someone is being serious or not. Tone won’t always translate effectively without accompanying body language such as facial expressions. You can use smiley emojis or playful gifs where appropriate, but it’s safer to be wary of jokes or comments that rely on tone to work.

#2 Be proactive

There are many ways this applies in the online video conference environment. For one thing, test your microphone before joining the meeting. We’ve reached the point where you should be familiar with the basics of the business online meeting tool. The time has passed for you to begin each meeting with the frustrating, “can you hear me now? Wait, how about now?”

Also, pay attention also to your surroundings. Maybe your “home office” is in the basement laundry room. It’s the only place you can get the peace you need to concentrate! At the same time, you should check your camera view before a meeting. Do you want co-workers or clients seeing your dirty clothes bin or delicates laid out to dry?

#3 Pay attention

Give an online meeting your full attention. In a meeting in the office, you all sat together in a conference room with no other distractions. Now, it’s super-tempting to check your email or Facebook, especially if you’re getting popup notifications while you’re in the meeting. When you “take a peek” at another browser during a meeting you can miss key points.

You’ll also want to silence your mobile phone and put it out of reach. For important meetings, put a note on the door of your home or apartment asking visitors not to knock. After all, you can’t predict when that online order of toilet paper will finally arrive.

#4 Avoid distractions

The above point talked about distractions that might steal your attention. You should also be aware of all the ways you can be distracting to others. A busy, cluttered background on a video chat can be an issue. There are articles out now discussing the books visible on celebrity library backgrounds!

Typing on a keyboard or clicking persistently with a mouse is also distracting. You don’t notice these noises, but they’re easily picked up on a computer microphone. Using a headset will help, you can go old school and use a pen and paper to take your notes during online meetings.

Also, take steps to warn others about your upcoming meetings. Feed kids beforehand if you’re going to set up in the kitchen. That way, all your colleagues don’t have to see teens raiding the pantry over your shoulder. Put animals outside. No matter how cute you think it is to have your furry officemate wrapped around your shoulders for the call.

#5 Dress professionally

We mentioned the well-established “wear pants to work” rule already. This one persists in the home office setting. Search the internet and you’ll find videos of people caught wearing board shorts – or worse – for work calls. You might think your computer camera is only capturing you from the waist up, but what if you have to move?

Working from home allows many of us to live the dream of staying in our PJs all day. Still, you need to look the part for meetings. As an aside, getting dressed for your work from home will also help to put you in a professional frame of mind.

In fact, all these business etiquette ideas help you to switch gears and think work. Working from home can be challenging, as the boundaries between personal and professional blend. Still, prioritize being respectful and attentive during work time to get more done. That means more time available to binge-watch television in your boxer shorts.

Need help setting up remote work technology or troubleshooting online conference tools? Our IT experts can help. Contact us today!

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Make an MSP Your Technology Sherpa

mph : May 14, 2020 10:11 pm : Blog Roll

They don’t always get credit, but climbers reaching the summit of Mount Everest rely on a Sherpa to guide them. Making information technology decisions can feel like climbing a mountain, but there’s help for that, too. A managed services provider (MSP) can be your technology Sherpa.

With so many of us working off-site right now, digital transformation has moved from “wouldn’t it be nice?” to “we need to be there now.” Technology is as essential to business success as oxygen is to those scaling Everest. Going digital can be daunting, especially when under pressure to get your business back on track. Where does one even begin?

Working with an MSP, you partner with consultants to navigate the technology mountain. Even before COVID-19 sent so many people home to work, MSPs provided IT help:

  • researching new technologies to help customers collaborate better and work more efficiently;
  • finding cost savings and ways to streamline business processes;
  • offering cybersecurity and data backup strategies to suit business needs;
  • monitoring and maintaining IT networks, systems, software, and applications;
  • keeping systems up to date and secure;
  • migrating business applications to the cloud.

The current environment is challenging businesses to pivot quickly, yet it’s business as usual for the MSP. Our experts have prepared for decades to help business enable work from home and save money.

Taking the MSP Route

Working with an MSP, you gain the assistance of IT consultants to make the right tech decisions. This isn’t just deciding what online meeting platform works best for your needs (although an MSP can do that, too). A great MSP partner will take the time to learn:

  • how you do business now;
  • what technology is available;
  • how users engage with the technology (on-site, mobile, a hybrid?);
  • what your end users are looking for;
  • short- and long-term business goals.

With this information, they can provide IT help at the business-strategy level. The MSP will see what works and what doesn’t. Drawing on a depth of experience with other customers, an MSP can avoid expensive mistakes. With a wealth of contacts with technology vendors, the MSP can often find you better deals.

The MSP partner makes IT its sole focus. You can spend your time on other important areas of your business. For a consistent subscription fee that shows great ROI, the MPS will work to:

  • improve efficiency and flexibility;
  • enhance security and compliance;
  • monitor and maintain your business systems;
  • reduce costs and streamline processes;
  • identify new technologies that can boost your users’ productivity.

Technology Tailored to Your Needs

Up until now, you may have been taking the guided bus tour approach to technology. You pay for an IT service and expect it to take you from point A to point B without a hitch. Working with an MSP, you’ll get a tailored IT solution. After getting to know your technology, user practices, and strategy, the MSP develops a customized journey. Your digital transformation will follow a step-by-step approach that considers your particular characteristics.

Work with an MSP as your technology guide. Our experts can help you pivot if you need to. We can help you allow staff to work at home, securely and efficiently. We can help you save money. We can help downsize technology if that’s what the current situation requires and make smarter decisions as you scale Mount Technology with the help of our experts.

An MSP can even work virtually to provide the strategic support you need. Contact us today at 615-502-0552!

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Tips for Trouble-Free Online Meetings

mph : May 1, 2020 9:13 pm : Blog Roll

Online meetings are the new norm for many, but that doesn’t mean people magically know how to enjoy a trouble-free online conference experience. These tips can power more successful meetings.

Many businesses today are working from home with a reliance on Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or GoToMeeting. But even with these platforms offering voice or video capabilities, there can be tech problems. These tips can minimize the trouble and enhance business collaboration.

1. Go Wired

Connecting to Wi-Fi offers flexibility and mobility. Yet when it comes to an online meeting, prefer a wired connection. Enjoy a more reliable meeting connection by plugging your laptop or desktop into the internet router using a network cable.

If you need to use a mobile device and can’t connect via cable, reduce Wi-Fi obstacles. Call in from as a close to the wireless access point as you can. Wi-Fi signals are a form of radio wave, which means they can be hindered by:

  • large metal objects near the router;
  • thick walls;
  • other electronics;
  • Wi-Fi congestion from your neighbors’ access points.

So, that important meeting is not the one you join from a cement-bricked basement, not when your Wi-Fi router is in an upstairs bedroom and your neighbors are all relying on Wi-Fi signals, too.

2. Prioritize Your Meeting

When you have a scheduled meeting, announce it to the rest of the household. Ask kids not to get on Xbox or stream movies at the same time as you connect to your meeting. See if you can’t persuade your partner, who is also working from home, not to download large files or new software at the same time as your meeting.

Program your devices to back up at times that won’t compete with your work hours. In the office, your IT team scheduled updates or security patches outside of business hours. Now that you’re doing it all at home, be smart about when you do upgrades. Depending on your home internet speed, trying to do too many things at once can cause trouble for everyone.

3. Test Connections Before the Meeting

You may feel that all you’re doing is meeting online right now. Why would you need to test audio and video each time? Well, every time you unplug a device such as a microphone or headset the settings will return to the default. That means the next time you connect you aren’t set up the way you want to be. You were expecting to listen in using your USB headphones, but the last time you unplugged them your computer switched back to the next available audio input (e.g. your monitor or built-in laptop speakers). 

By checking the connection first, you also make sure you have the most up-to-date platform software. You don’t want to be late to a call because your device has decided it needs to re-install Skype right at that moment.

4. Use the Right Equipment

Headsets and external microphones limit the ambient noise. You’ll hear better. Plus, it will make your contributions easier to hear, too.

Muting your microphone when you’re not talking also helps – it reduces the noise pollution. Problems can arise when your mic picks up other people talking through your speakers. This precaution also saves you from apologizing when your dog barks ferociously at the FedEx delivery person.

5. Pick the Best Setting

Plan the best place to take that online meeting. The closer you are to your wireless access point, the better your connection.

Plus, you want to avoid high-traffic areas, as you’re more likely to be distracted. A child or furry colleague could make an unplanned appearance.

Select an area with a simple background, too. Sitting in front of a window may seem like a good idea, but it makes your face darker and more difficult to see on video. Ideally, you want to be in a well-lit room with a plain wall as your background.

6. Take Full Advantage of Online Meeting Features

You may have done conference calls in the past. Everyone called in, spoke when necessary, and that was that. But much of the top business collaboration software offers added features:

  • Call recording provides a record that can be checked later.
  • Call transcripts give you an efficient way to capture all that happened in a meeting.
  • Some platforms let you add virtual backgrounds to video calls.
  • You might also enable an interactive shared whiteboard, presentation slides, or co-browsing.

Online meetings are efficient and cost-effective. With the current health crisis forcing many of us to adapt to connecting virtually, implementing these ideas can help.

Need help setting up your online meeting platform or deciding on the solution that’s right for you? We can help. Contact us today!

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Solving Your Work-from-Home Internet Woes

mph : April 23, 2020 7:20 pm : Blog Roll

Your internet used to meet your needs. You could check social media and stream a TV show whenever you wanted without trouble. Now, since working from home, you’re finding your internet service more frustrating: it’s too slow when you want to send and receive large work files, or erratic when you take part in video meetings. Here’s help.

Blame your service provider

Ah, the familiar pastime – blaming someone else. The problem could be with your provider.

Yes, it’s a good idea to keep your expenses low, and that budget internet provider may not have been a problem in the past. But internet service providers (ISPs) may save money by buying less bandwidth. Bandwidth impacts the data transfer rate, which makes a difference to downloads and connectivity. ISPs might also oversell their capabilities, betting that everyone won’t be online at the same time. Yet, now, everyone is!

Switching to a higher-quality ISP can help address your connectivity concerns. It’s a good idea to find out what kind of connectivity they’re offering, too.

Some people are fortunate to live in places with full-fiber connections. This new technology uses fiberoptic cable to send more data, more quickly. Other people have to rely on providers using copper cables. Copper cables are old school and designed to carry call data as electrical pulses. The further your internet signals travel, the more your signal strength falters.

If poor wired infrastructure to your home is the issue, swap instead to point-to-point Wi-fi, 4G, or 5G. For instance, for Wi-fi, you’d install a Wi-fi dish on your roof pointing to a nearby wireless provider. With a 4G connection, you’d be using cell phone towers. 5G is the same, but you’ll find it faster if its available.

Redundancy is another way to go. Your existing wired connection may be fine most of the time, but you’ll have a backup in place. You can roll over to the 4G option if the wired internet goes down.

Sorry, the problem’s at your end

It’s possible the root of your internet problems is right there in your home or neighborhood. You are no longer the only person using your internet connection. You could be trying to download something on one computer while your partner is taking a video call. Maybe you also have kids online in an online classroom or looking for a supply llama in Fortnite.

Even if you’re only trying to watch Netflix, just as you used to, you might notice you’re lagging more than before. There are probably more neighbors on their Wi-Fi, too, which can result in congestion in your area.

If you can switch to a 5 GHz connection, do so. The speed will improve. Plus, you’ll find you’re not in competition with as many others, as many home Wi-Fi setups are on the 2.4 GHz frequency.

There’s a solution out there

The solution to your work-from-home internet woes will vary. It depends on your location, what’s around, and the internet service options available.

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Essentials for Empowering Remote Work

mph : April 12, 2020 9:40 pm : Blog Roll

?COVID-19 is forcing many businesses to embrace remote work. The technology needed to enable people to work from home has existed for years, but working from home may be new for you and your employees. Here are some essentials you need to address to empower your remote workers.

What technology do you have or need? Your people may have business laptops and phones, or perhaps you already allowed employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work. So, remote work isn’t going to be as much of a change. Your people already have the tools they need.

However, a business that wasn’t doing any of this before might need new hardware. You can’t expect your employees to lug heavy desktop computers home.

You may need to ask employees to use their own personal computers and phones. That’s going to require some ground rules. For one, no Windows 7: that operating system is out of date and no longer supported by Microsoft, which means employees could be putting corporate data at risk of cyberattack.

You can also take the following precautions to secure off-site online activity:

  • Establish strict policies for securing devices accessing business networks.
  • Communicate reporting procedures for the loss/theft of a device.
  • Enable mobile monitoring management of all devices that give IT access.
  • Encourage regular backup of mobile devices.
  • Educate employees to regularly update firewall and anti-virus software.
  • Prohibit third-party apps.
  • Set devices to make users aware that they may be connecting to unsafe networks.

Challenges of the Remote Work Environment

In the office environment, there is business technology consistency. Now, you’re supporting various hardware and networking solutions of different quality. This can be a headache to get up and running, yet you need to support your remote employees. What kind of IT desk help will you offer? People are now working wherever they are, whenever they want.

The “wherever they are” part can raise some issues. Employees could log in from public parks, coffee shops (if any are open), or while at home with the kids. This means fresh threats. Laptops can get stolen. People out in the world could look over your employee’s shoulder and read what’s on the screen. Kids can spill juice in a split second! Install remote management software to enable a complete wipe of lost or stolen laptops. Also, implement encryption, data backup, and screen-locking features to help keep data secure.

Saying people can work “whenever they want” also has its challenges. With everyone stuck at home, a 9–5 schedule for office productivity may be impossible. Toddlers don’t really understand that “Mommy’s working,” do they?

It’s a good idea to establish clear expectations from the outset:

  • How will progress be demonstrated?
  • How can employees check-in with managers?
  • What are the expectations for team collaboration?
  • What software will be used for group chat, video, or conference calling?
  • What is acceptable business-hour flexibility?

If you’re going to allow people to set their own hours, IT support needs to be flexible, too.

Supporting Remote Work

The good news is that remote work can be productive, too. In fact, a Stanford University study found remote employees did an extra day’s work per person per week.

We can help you set up your technology to support your remote staff. We’ll make sure your hardware is up to scratch, secure those mobile devices, and be your remote IT help desk at odd hours. Contact us today at 615-502-0552!

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Steer Clear of Coronavirus Scams

mph : April 7, 2020 12:41 pm : Blog Roll

With the world grappling with a health pandemic, scams are shocking. Regrettably, bad actors are everywhere, always looking for opportunities, and they’re seeing one in the coronavirus. This article outlines what you need to watch out for and how to stay cyber safe.

The last thing you want to read right now is that there’s another threat out there – sorry, but it’s true. Cybercriminals take advantage of fear. They take timely concerns and use them to target victims. Using the anxiety and upheaval around coronavirus is their mission.

So far, several coronavirus-related attempts to cyberscam people have been reported. There are examples of:

  • emails that appear to come from government health departments;
  • offering a tax refund to get people to click on malicious links;
  • memos to staff that appear to come from large employers;
  • COVID-19 test offerings from private companies;
  • fake websites promising to sell face masks or hand sanitizer;
  • soliciting donations to help fund a vaccine.

What to Watch Out For

Another concern is the number of bogus websites registered with names relating to COVID-19. The site can look legit but is set up to steal information or infect the victim’s computer with malware.

You may get an email promising the attached information offers coronavirus safety measures, or information shared by the World Health Organization (WHO) if you click on the link, or a similar email pretending to be from a reputable news source, such as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

In another example, an email impersonating a healthcare company’s IT team asked people to register for a seminar “about this deadly virus.” Anyone who didn’t question why IT was organizing the meeting clicked to register. By filling out the form, they gave their details to hackers.

What to Do

Be cautious. It’s understandable that you’re anxious, but don’t let that stop you from taking cyber precautions. You should still:

  • be wary of anything that tries to play on your emotions and urges immediate action;
  • question where emails are coming from – remain vigilant even if the communication appears to come from a reliable source;
  • hover over links before clicking them to see where they will take you – for example, in the WSJ example, the Web address was for the “worldstreetjournal”;
  • avoid downloading anything you didn’t ask for;
  • doubt any deals that sound too good to be true (“a mask that stops the virus 99.7% of the time!”);
  • ignore any communications requesting your personal information;
  • don’t be suckered by fraudulent pleas for charity.

Global health organizations generally do not send out emails with advice. Instead, navigate directly to that reputable health institution for real news.

If you’re still not sure about the validity of the communication, check it out. Do so by calling or using another medium to get in touch with the “source” of the received message.

While there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19, you can put anti-virus protection on your computer. Also, make sure that you’ve applied all available security updates to keep your software safe.

We hope you’ll take care and stay healthy both physically and online in these tough times.

Need help installing security software and keeping your technology safe? Our cybersecurity experts can give your home a tech immunization. Contact us today at 615-502-0552!

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How to Stay Focused Working from Home

mph : March 31, 2020 8:10 pm : Blog Roll

Working from home is not for everyone – we’ve all heard that said before – but many of us worldwide are now being forced to work from home. It can be challenging, especially when you have to adapt in the midst of all the other uncertainties COVID-19 has brought. These strategies can help you stay focused when working remotely.

Reserve your office space

Set up a temporary home office. Pick a space, if you can, that is away from distractions and has a door that you can close. Try to organize this space so that you feel more as if you’re going into the office. Clear those personal bills and photo albums waiting for assembly from your desk.

Creating a distinct space can help with the mental association that you are going to work. You’ll also find it easier to focus if you dress as you would for work. Shower, and put on makeup if you normally do. Getting out of your pajamas and putting on your “game face” puts you more in work mode.

Stick with your routines

Keeping a similar schedule can help, too. If you go to the office at a certain time every day, that’s when you should show up at your home workstation. If you took breaks at consistent times when on-site, do the same at home. This helps tell your brain it’s business as usual, even when you’re working in the laundry room on a folding card table!

You may not be able to go out and grab a coffee or eat lunch out with colleagues, but you can still go have a cup in the kitchen or order lunch from a local business that’s delivering – help them to stay in business too!

If you used to write emails first thing, do that still. If your team had a weekly conference call Wednesdays at 11, try to keep that, too. You can use voice or video conferencing to stay in touch while remaining at a safe distance.

Avoid distractions

This is going to mean different things for people. Working from home with children is tough, especially as you’re now supposed to be supervising their online learning. Giving them a dedicated space for schoolwork can help to keep them motivated and away from you. You might tell younger children to expect your attention at breaks (e.g. “I’ll play three rounds of Candyland when the big hand reaches 12 and the little hand reaches 3”).

The news and social media are other traps for those working from home. No one is watching over your shoulder, and it’s easy to think, “I’ll just check …” That’s how you lose 30 minutes of productivity watching pandas wrestle on a zoo-cam.

Still struggling? You could consider setting up one operating system account for work and another for personal use creating different browser profiles. And if you’re still getting distracted, you could install a browser plug-in that forces you to stay on track.

Keep deadlines

Setting deadlines can help you stay motivated. The longer you have to get something done, the slower you’ll work – it’s inevitable. So, maintain some pressure by setting tight, but realistic targets.

Share your deadlines with other colleagues using an online task management tool. This can help with accountability.

Be patient

This is a stressful time, and you’re being asked to deal with many changes. So, you need to be patient. Working in sprints could help your motivation and attention span. You might set a timer and focus completely on work until the bell chimes. One theory is that the most productive people take a 17-minute break every 52 minutes, but you’ll want to see what works for you.

Another approach is to say you’ll do 30 minutes of good work on that thing you’re avoiding. Worst case: you get only 30 minutes of it done. At least you’re further ahead. But you might find it only takes 30 minutes to complete or that you’re so close to finishing that you keep going and get the job done.

Have the right tech

Make sure you have the right tools to do your job. Working from home is challenging enough, so make it easier with reliable internet and Wi-Fi connections, and access to the required files.

Need help with working from home? We can’t actually be there to cheer you on and keep you motivated, but our tech experts can get you set up with the most efficient home office solutions. Contact us at 615-502-055 today!

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Setting Up Your Work from Home Tech

mph : March 25, 2020 8:07 pm : Blog Roll

You’ve been told to stay put and work from home. You’re looking around your home or apartment and thinking, “uhm, work where?” You’ve never set up a home office. Here’s help getting you organized to go online and get things done working remotely.

The first things you’ll need are a computer and a cell phone. You may even need the phone if your computer is set up for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication, but at the very least, you will likely need to be able to talk to people and get online.

Work may have provided you with a laptop. Or perhaps you already had one or a desktop that everyone in the house has been sharing for years. So, you’ve got a computer on which you can log in to necessary business applications.

But wait; we said log in – you’re going to need an internet connection. Most homes do at this point, but you may have a pretty barebones router. Like you, your internet service provider (ISP) wasn’t expecting business traffic from your home.

To work remotely online you’ll need the internet speed and capacity to handle video conferencing and running business software. If it were just you, that wouldn’t be an issue. But you have a partner or roommate working from home now, too. Or perhaps there are kids out of school who are avoiding e-learning by streaming shows or playing video games.

It may be time to upgrade. Newer routers often offer both the older 2.4 GHz and the faster 5 GHz frequency, which has less interference. Additionally, since 5 GHz isn’t as common, you’re less likely to compete with neighbors for Wi-Fi signals (since they’re probably stuck at home, too).

Being Productive Working from Home

Once you’re connected to the internet, you’ll also have to log in at work. Some businesses will have set up virtual private networks (VPNs) for added security. A VPN connects a computer, smartphone, or tablet to a shared or public network as if you’re connecting to a private network.

If not, the responsibility for securing your online activity is yours. It’s always a good idea to make sure your operating system is up to date. Plus, run the latest antivirus and software with the most recent security patches installed. This is required if you’re working from home with an industry that has compliance standards, but it’s a best practice for everyone.

And please don’t use Windows 7 any longer. If you haven’t upgraded your OS since you bought that software, it’s definitely time to update. Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows 7, which means it’s also not doing anything to patch vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals know this, so don’t leave your home computer open to attack.

Knowing that you could be working from home for the next few weeks, take the time to actually establish and organize your workspace. Try to find a place away from distractions or that has a door you can close to keep distractions to a minimum. Also, think about being somewhere in the home that gets natural light. This helps people be happier and more engaged in their work.

You’ll also want to think about how far you’re setting up your workspace from the router. Depending on the power of your hardware, you could encounter a reduced signal the further away you go. You could consider a network cable or Mesh Wi-Fi for your home. Traditional Wi-Fi relies on a single router, whereas a mesh system helps you reach many, spread out areas in your home.

Need to get up and running from home quickly? A managed service provider can help you connect, upgrade, or troubleshoot your home office setup. Give us a call today at 615-502-0552.

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How To Keep Your Tech Squeaky Clean

mph : March 18, 2020 7:13 am : Blog Roll

Our tech is something we use every day, but did you know it’s also the most disgusting? Your screen may look clean, but studies show that a mobile phone can be 18x dirtier than a public restroom – ew! It gets worse (sorry)…that keyboard you tap at while eating your morning toast? It’s probably the biggest bacterial threat in your house, with about 20 000 times more germs than a toilet seat, more if you share it with children.

It’s not just sickness we’re up against, because as dust builds up inside gadgets, they also slow down, malfunction or overheat. Your device essentially chokes on ick, as vents and filters are clogged by sucking in pet hair and floating debris. Here’s how to clean your essential tech items without damaging them:

1. Skip the household cleaners: Most cleaning products are too harsh for our technology and can end up causing permanent damage. You want something that can kill germs and remove everyday grime, without scratching or leaving behind a scented residue. Your best bet is Isopropyl Alcohol. You’ll find it in the first aid section of supermarkets and pharmacies, or at the hardware store.

2. Power down completely: Turn your tech off all the way, not just sleeping, and unplug from any power sources. Switch wireless keyboards, mice, etc off underneath or remove the batteries.

3. Remove any cases or covers: Undress your device as much as you can, but leave screen protectors on (unless there’s grime underneath). If your screen protector needs replacing, have a new one ready to apply.

4. Grab a microfiber cloth: Dampen the cloth with Isopropyl Alcohol and wipe screens and external surfaces gently. Older build-up may require extra effort.

5. Go deep: You can use a toothbrush or cotton tip to clean between most crevices, but some areas will need a bit more ‘oomph’ to clear. You’ve probably seen people use vacuum cleaners on their keyboard, but these are often TOO powerful and may suck keys or internal parts loose. They also generate damaging static electricity. Another option is to use a tech-specific vacuum, but these are usually underpowered.

Insider tip: Use a can of compressed air to blow the dust out. You can get these from many stores and they come with a long nozzle so you can really get in and direct the pressure. You’ll be surprised what flies out, so it’s best to do this outside! We don’t recommend using compressed air on your computer’s internal fans though, as this can make them spin too fast and damage them.

How often you clean your tech is up to you and your lifestyle. But it’s a good idea to blow out computer internal dust at least twice a year and wiping your tech down 1-2 times per week will definitely reduce germs and grime.

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Is Your Business’s IT Ready for the Coronavirus?

mph : March 7, 2020 3:29 pm : Blog Roll

The Coronavirus is spreading as fast as feared. Business must be ready for the worst. One priority? Protecting the health of employees. Preparing the way for remote working is one top recommendation.

News of the virus, which the WHO is now calling COVID-19, has prompted urgent interest in remote work. Business collaboration software, virtual desktops, and private networks can all help. This tech helps business continue as usual, even with quarantined employees.

It’s difficult to imagine you aren’t aware of the looming health pandemic. Trying to limit the contagion, we’ve already seen big business take major measures. These include:

Nike temporarily closed its European headquarters when an employee was diagnosed with the virus. After the first death in Washington state in the U.S., the company also closed its world headquarters for a deep clean of its campus.

Twitter told its roughly 4,900 employees to stay home to work.

Other businesses are weighing up the options. Furloughs? Changes to sick leave? Or encouraging work from home. The last option appeals, but how do employees work remotely? How can they continue collaborating with people they used to sit beside, meet in the office, or travel to see? Technological solutions.

The Right Technology for Remote Work

Remote workers want a centralized platform with a simplified (yet secure) login process. Business collaboration software is a great enabler of mobile, flexible work. Replace in-person meetings with voice or video conferencing. Streamline chat, voice, and video in one software platform. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, Google’s G-suite, or Slack, allow business to create team channels.

Business collaboration tools also simplify access to email, calendars, documents, and file sharing. Employees can use a single sign-on to access business tools and data. This supports improved efficiency and increased transparency.

Providing a virtual desktop can provide access to important business applications, as well. Virtual desktops in the cloud allow users to work separately from their personal computers. The software virtualizes the user’s unique desktop environment at any workstation. All the data and applications are stored on a central server. Users access apps, folders, and toolbars from anywhere, with a consistent, secure experience.

Using a cloud-based solution also provides peace of mind. While remote workers access the corporate network, the sensitive data isn’t stored locally. So, the business needn’t worry about the loss or theft of sensitive data. Plus, cloud-based virtual desktops are easy to rapidly install outside a quarantined area.

Mobile Work Helps Every Day

You can hope that your employees stay healthy and your business remains unaffected, but why take that risk? Empowering remote work benefits business, even without the threat of a fatal flu.

Remote teams enjoy greater work-life balance. The workers spend less time commuting and are more productive. Empowered, they also feel trusted and more engaged.

Meanwhile, business can save money on physical space and hardware investments. Additionally, the hiring pool of qualified personnel expands with remote work, and the business can offer its services more globally and flexibly. All that’s true whether the coronavirus becomes an issue for your business or not.

Enabling a remote workforce takes technology. Need help installing and connecting your employees? We can help. Contact us today at 615-502-0552.

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