Technology for returning to the office
Working from home has been a reality for most of us since March, but with ease of lock-down restrictions and staff returning to office gradually, it now feels like the perfect time to consider whether current technology is fit to tackle this ‘new normal’ way of working. If the job is to stay ‘remote ready’ and versatile, then what are the most successful ways to keep our teams connected?
Consider Cloud Solutions
The ability, as a business, to make and receive calls from multiple locations has been a common request for some time. However, in the current climate, this need has most likely become essential to ensure business continuity.
Moving to a cloud-based system will undoubtedly meet this requirement, allowing your employees to work without complications or restrictions, whether at home , in the office or on the road. Fully future-proof and easy-to-use, cloud based phone systems do not require complicated wiring and handsets can be connected via WIFI. This results in a device that is completely portable for the user, able to go wherever they go, making for a much more seamless and hassle-free remote and flexible working experience.
Are you concerned about compromising your customer service standards during this time? There’s no need for that. Cloud phone systems allow employees to easily transfer calls to one another, providing the best customer experience in their class. Staff can use the Presence function to check when colleagues are available, integrate with your CRM systems to easily access customer data and replicate their desk phones on their business mobiles. Plus, you can still make the most of the traditional phone system features, including call recording and reporting, as well as on-site marketing and auto attendance.
Plug and play handsets have been designed with flexibility in mind, which is why they are easily connected to your mobile business. Cloud phone systems can be paired with your business mobile, effectively turning your mobile device into an extension of your phone system. This allows even more flexibility, especially for staff members who spend a lot of time on the road but still need access to it.
With fragmented teams, it is essential to remain in regular contact with each other. Video conferencing, once perceived as a solid alternative to face-to – face meetings, is now a vital tool for communication. With premium video conferencing platforms that allow up to 25 participants, teams are able to have regular catch-up sessions that are far more engaging than traditional audio conferencing.
Furthermore, video conferencing allows more interaction than traditional audio calls, as the screens can be shared and the team members can really get involved, which in turn promotes a sense of inclusion that you simply can’t get from a phone call or email. Plus, video conferencing meetings can be recorded, which means that they can be easily referred back to. Video conferencing may be used for informal team meetings, as well as for more formal meetings, to make decisions that would otherwise be made in person. After all, there’s nothing better than a video call from the upbeat team to keep your teams motivated and engaged! Plus, it offers some normality for those who are not used to working remotely.
One of the main benefits of video conferencing is that it can be conducted from anywhere. Your staff may choose to take part in a video conference on their desk phone, if they have these capabilities, or on their business mobile devices.
If you would like to learn more about updating your communications technology, please get in touch with our team today.
Password Protect Everything
All your digital devices should be password-protected. A tricky password or biometric login will make it much harder to break into your device. If your password is simple, it’s easy to open your device and access your personal information, which puts you at risk of identity theft.
It’s tempting to use the same password for all your online accounts. But if you are hacked, it means all your accounts are vulnerable. The solution is to use a password manager, that way, you have the security of using multiple passwords, without needing to remember them all.
The same goes for security questions – the questions you are asked to set in case you forget your password. These are very easy for hackers to find out, so create false answers and store them in your password manager. For an additional security measure, turn on two-factor authentication for any site that supports it.
Keep Computers Virus Free
If your device becomes infected by a virus or malware, hackers can use it to dig through your data and steal your identity or lock up your files and demand a ransom to return them. Running an antivirus program protects your devices. It’s also good practice to keep your software up to date with the latest security patches – you can make this task easier by configuring updates to download automatically.
Secure Your Browser
Turn off cookies
Be wary of public WIFI
When you’re out and about browsing, be wary of public WIFI. Connections can be intercepted by someone else on the network, allowing them to access data on your device. When you’re working remotely, it’s safest to skip public WIFI and find a secure network.
Be Switched On When It Comes To Scams
Scammers are getting better at mimicking businesses, which makes them much harder to spot. So beware of websites, phone calls and emails that try to extract your personal information. Scams often pressure you to act. If you feel stressed, take a step back and ask to hand over your details later, a legitimate company should be willing to wait.
Only Use Software You Trust
After all, if you don’t know where your software comes from, you can’t know what it’s really doing to your device. Even software that looks legitimate can be a scam, so always choose your software and apps from a trusted developer.
And when it comes to apps, consider what they’re asking to access. Apps can ask for permissions to use various things on your phone, like your camera, microphone and files. These are often needed for app function but make you more vulnerable to hacking. If an app is making too many access requests, look for alternatives.
Train Your Users
Establish a strong culture of security awareness within your organisation. Train your users to identify phishing attacks, set strong passwords and protect their devices when they’re working on the move. People are more likely to act if they feel empowered to prevent cyber attacks themselves.
Stop Auto-forwarding Emails
Once hackers gain access to a mailbox, they can take mail from it as they please, using auto-forwarding emails. This can happen even without the user’s awareness. So it’s best to prevent this from occurring by configuring a mail flow rule.
Your business is close to your heart. So our Mobile Specialists get close to the heart of your business. They’re dedicated, helping you make the most of tech, so your people are free to work more flexibly and productively. Whatever your business needs, we can help.
Get in touch with your Account Manager today and see how you can improve your security on the move
NT Mobile Team
A Centralized IP Office Solution Means YESSS Electrical can Open New Branches with Lightning Speed
For electrical wholesaler YESSS, a minute of downtime means lost sales. To optimize uptime at all locations, YESSS switched to a centralized solution built on Avaya IP Office—eliminating downtime and enabling a higher level of customer service. The Avaya solution is saving the company at least £70k a year and reducing the time to provision new locations from over a week to under a day. It also provides a perfect platform for ongoing digital transformation efforts.
In the electrical wholesale market, speed matters. End customers want their products yesterday. You need to respond to calls promptly and get the right products shipped ASAP. And if you can’t, your competitors will.
Read the full story here
Avaya has announced financial results for its third fiscal quarter of 2019.
The company’s transformation continues, and it is demonstrating steady progress across the business in delivering innovation and achieving exceptional experiences.
Here are some highlights of the continued strong operational performance:
• For the quarter, non-GAAP revenue was $720 million, Adjusted EBITDA was $167 million, and the company generated $52 million in cash flow from operations.
• Revenue from software and services increased to 83.6%, and recurring revenue was 59.3%.
• Avaya added approximately 1,400 new customers, winning new business from competitors and delivering compelling value to customers. This momentum is continuing into the current quarter, including two major wins signed with the U.S. federal government.
• Public cloud seats grew over 170% year-over-year and 24% sequentially, as total cloud seats came in at 3.6 million for the quarter.
Investments in customer-focused innovation continue to be recognized by third-party industry analysts. This quarter, IDC recognized Avaya’s leadership in their 2019 Worldwide Unified Communications and Collaboration Marketscape.
Contact us now to learn more about what’s new at Avaya!
Read about the work we have recently done & how this is helping our clients improve their own customers’ experiences & satisfaction.
Customer Satisfaction at the forefront of what we do – we have helped Scrivens eliminate their lost calls, keep caller wait times to a minimum while offering the best telecoms solution to fit their individual needs as a business.
It’s not a secret that new technologies, trends and expectations have shaped our workplaces and employee experiences. That is why so many of today’s business owners are desperate to acquire the newest available solutions ahead of their competition
In order to beat the competition & motivate your people to become even more productive, see the latest five digital work space trends…
1. Move to the Cloud
For better features, functions, portals, analysis, and overall experience, 90% of IT leaders will use cloud-based unified communications. This enables quick remote changes to be made without the need to wait for a visit on site
2. Mobile/Remote Working
About 1,6 million UK staff work from home regularly This means that companies must be able to offer easy communication and cooperation across various devices and locations
3. Real Time Collaboration
66% of employees report positive colleague relationships have made them more focused and productive while in the office. Features such as real-time messaging and facilities for file sharing help a great deal with this
4. Quality over quantity
1 hour each day is wasted at work navigating between apps & services depending on what task needs completing. Get the right products & services set up and maintain them to reduce this wasted time & improve workflow
5. Connection of Human & Machine
70% of companies (by 2020) will be trying to implement immersive technologies. These innovations can contribute to creating intelligent working environments consisting of both physical and digital environments
Want to to know how we can transform your work space with our voice and collaboration platforms? Contact us now to receive free leadership advice.
Gary’s 20 year Journey with NT sadly comes to an end this week
We are sorry to be losing one of our longest serving staff members at the end of this week. NT Voice & Data would like to thank Gary Towle for his 20 years of service in his Account Manager role. Gary has been a valuable member of the team here at NT since January 1999 and we will miss his company and the fun he brings to the office. We all wish him all the best with his future plans.
“I was asked recently, what is the key to being a successful salesperson? The answer is simply down to getting on with people, making a friend of them and showing an interest in them. Obviously product knowledge is important and you need to represent your company well but the good old fashioned interaction with fellow humans is the key. A director at one of my larger accounts said to me last week ‘it’s you that I buy from not the company’. The world is changing and so is the way we communicate and who knows what the next invention will be , one thing is for sure Social Media and all forms of interaction via a screen and an Internet connection will never equal face to face communication. Sadly sales is going that way now so let’s hope, those of us in the Gen X bracket can keep it going a bit longer – GT”
Other comments amongst staff include;
“All I want to say is that he’ll be very much missed, not only for his humour but especially his kindness”
“Gary is wonderful, he always helps me out at a moment’s notice with any queries, no matter how small. He is very kind too, even giving me lifts when my car broke down (on multiple occasions) Thank you GT!”
We all want to wish him the best as he moves to pastures new and fulfils his long time ambition.
The move towards ‘agile working’ is being adopted by many organisations to retain staff and increase productivity, what are the pros and cons?
We understand agile working can be difficult to implement but it’s not impossible. I’m sitting here writing this from my home office, normally I’m working part-time, remotely from my parents’ home. They live over an hour away, but they get to look after my 18 month old son every week and are very happy about this, and my little one is too! If it wasn’t for agile working, I’d have to pay for extra childcare. Logistically getting him to my parents and then myself to the office is impossible.
We know that commuting is getting worse too, people are travelling further. 45% of people now spend over an hour commuting to their jobs. 70% of people report that ‘flexible working options’ actually make a job more attractive (powwownow.co.uk, 2017). I know this is true for me and I am experiencing the benefits too! The millennial generation are also keen to work more flexibly and to support their well-being whilst developing and continuing their careers.
Most organisations are not fully ‘agile’. They implement some strategies rather than the whole agile working package. For example, many companies provide ‘hot-desking’ to reduce office space but do not always supply all of the technology necessary to work independently.
Be clear about business objectives and what you want to achieve by implementing agile working. There will be costs and resources involved so they need to be clear on what these are before you go ahead. For example, will all roles be agile? What are the constraints and what mobile technology will you provide for staff?
Lead by Example, leaders are great role models and when implementing agile working it is good to show that initiatives such as ‘hot-desking’ are for everyone. Other initiatives such as not emailing after hours can also support a culture of ‘switching off’.
Many organisations support home working or working away from the office at multiple locations. Whilst this can work well to manage work life balance and caring responsibilities, employees can become invisible and it is important that line managers stay in touch with regular contact to check on well-being and work objectives.
Sharing Work Space/Hot-desking
Can work well for co-working where colleagues can share ideas and interact. However, not all colleagues will embrace the change and some may feel a loss of anchor to their workplace, thus reducing productivity. It is very important to consider individual needs and where hot-desking does not work, to provide appropriate alternative facilities.
Agile working – Hot-desking, remote working, flexible working, co-working, working from mobile devices on the road between appointments – it can increase productivity and well-being.
Both the pros and the cons should be considered when implementing for it to be fully effective. Being equipped is KEY.
If you would like to discuss some Communication Technologies that can help your organisation with agile working please contact us today.
On 1st October 2018, OFCOM enforced a new legislation using their guidelines you can read these in full here.
Its to protect consumers against high bills (bill shock). The legislation is to ensure that Providers of mobile phone services do not enter into a contract unless the customer has been given an opportunity to specify a bill limit.
Providers should have adequate checks and processes in place to ensure that this is fully carried out as of 1st October 2018.
Notifications must be sent out to customers when they are coming close to their selected limit and again once the limit has been reached. Providers are now prohibited from charging beyond the set limit if the customer is not informed or the service restricted in time.
This is a providers responsibly, not yours as a consumer. The good news is that we are ahead of the game. NT Voice & Data have been providing the option for an overall spend limit for the last few years or so. Protecting our customers from bill shock is very important to us as we understand how frustrating it is to be lumbered with large bills after a trip or excessive unintended usage. This new legislation is very important to us and we are complying with this for our customers benefit.
The default limit usually stands at around £200 per number however this can be amended to suit the needs of your business.
We urge our customers to contact one of our experienced team members for further advice on this and to also check what limit is set in place for you & amend if necessary.
Last year in 2017, Ransomware attacks were used by cyber-criminals to compromise many businesses, with success.
Ransomware A type of malicious soft
ware. It is designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.
This was, in the past, aimed at individuals at home, however is now more than ever being targeted at businesses & larger organisations. Because of the success, cyber-criminals are now looking at other ways to secure their pay-outs.
Phishing emails are from criminals pretending to be from reputable companies. In order to gain personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers or to place orders causing great loss to the company, they send out attachments and links.
Nowadays, it doesn’t even matter if you know who its from. Cyber-criminals are impersonating banks, reputable organisations and even your friends. If the attachment looks unusual or the link looks funny…it probably is!
Back in 2016 there was a piece of Malware called Mirai. This basically bypassed devices with security by using ones instead that have default username and passwords. (Think standard home routers, baby monitors, IP Cameras, TV’s, home appliances etc.) Once infected, the device is “available” for remote access & control by hackers.
So this year & next, businesses must ensure that the basics are covered. Data management, protection and patching are good places to start. (E.g. Create alerts for anonymous new users, changes in device performance, and regularly auditing passwords)
Its not all doom & gloom…
Businesses must exploit the advantage that they have in knowing what their data network looks like, and use security analytics to spot any anomalies fast.
It’s also vital not to allow internet of things (IoT) devices to simply connect to your network without proper security – Vehicles, wearable’s, health appliances, heating & cooling systems etc.
Protect your business with multiple levels & make cure colleagues and friends are aware of the impact once click can cause. Contact your IT company to find out how you are protected.