Make an MSP Your Technology Sherpa

Make an MSP Your Technology Sherpa

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 (416) 645-2469, (905) 667-0441 or email us today!

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Improve Your IT Cashflow

Improve Your IT Cashflow

The economy is one more victim of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The global lockdown has many businesses feeling the pain. As finances grow tighter, business leaders are looking to improve cashflow. These key areas can help IT curtail spending.

First, take a look at the way you’re working now. Chances are it’s changed. If users are working from home, you may have migrated business applications to the cloud. This offers opportunities to reduce costs:

  • You may no longer need licenses that your on-site server isn’t using.
  • There may be overlap now with the new cloud-based solutions and your old software.

By auditing your software usage and revisiting your license fees, you can identify savings. You may also have had to let people go. That means the computer systems they used no longer need active software licenses.

Cloud-based Savings

If you haven’t already done so, moving business applications online offers benefits. You can offer users access to a Microsoft Office package in Microsoft 365, or a similar setup in Google’s G-Suite, all for a small monthly fee. Your employees get to use the most up-to-date software, wherever they are, and you save money.

You might also take voice calling online. With Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications, you add features and greater mobility. VoIP can offer call recording, voicemail to email transcription, and more. Plus, packaging communications and cloud collaboration tools can lead to big savings, quickly.

Additionally, cloud-based voice, storage, and software solutions eliminate infrastructure maintenance and monitoring costs, and you pay only for the capacity you need. It helps that it’s easy to scale up or down to keep control of costs while business continues uninterrupted.

Rethink Your Partnerships

A vendor audit can help you identify where you are overspending. You may have contracts for phone, internet, software, storage and backup, and IT Help. Reviewing these arrangements, you may be able to find a new deal.

Better yet, work with a managed service provider (MSP). An MSP will review existing relationships to determine where solutions could be streamlined. Or the MSP may be able to get you a deal due to pre-existing relationships with vendors.

A great MSP will help identify the best IT strategies for your business – it’s an investment that pays off. Technology failures are costly, and having managed services experts monitoring your business IT works to prevent problems. The MSP’s security and disaster recovery methods can protect your business from a devastating breach.

It sounds counter-intuitive to add another expense, but a small amount monthly can prevent expensive blowouts that you may not recover from. The MSP fee means ongoing access to IT experts recommending technologies to meet specific business needs.

Keeping cash flow under control requires smart spending. You’re also looking for return on your investment in technology maintenance and upkeep. Hiring an MSP can make a big difference. The MSP prompts IT modernizations based on your objectives to enhance work processes and improve productivity.

Do more than survive the current downturn. With an MSP in your corner, you can cut costs and emerge from the “Great Lockdown” a leaner, more agile business. Contact our experts to upgrade your technology and corral costs today! Call us at (416) 645-2469, (905) 667-0441 or email us today!

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Tips for Trouble-Free Online Meetings

Tips for Trouble-Free Online Meetings

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 at (416) 645-2469, (905) 667-0441 or email us today!

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Solving Your Work-from-Home Internet Woes

Solving Your Work-from-Home Internet Woes

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.

You don’t have to troubleshoot your internet on your own. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but our tech experts can help find the right fit for your needs. Contact us today  (416) 645-2469, (905) 667-0441 or email us today!

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Take IT off Your Plate with an MSP Partnership

Take IT off Your Plate with an MSP Partnership

Take IT off Your Plate with an MSP Partnership

Take IT off Your Plate with an MSP Partnership Let’s be realistic. You don’t care about information technology (IT). Or, you do, but only so far as it supports you getting the things you care about done. You’d rather not think about IT at all. Many businesses are that way. That’s fine by us. We care enough about IT for all our clients.

You love developing products, designing campaigns, or determining financial strategy for clients. A managed services provider loves supporting you in doing those things. You don’t have to get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of networks, systems, software, and applications. We will. Happily.

The thing is, we typically aren’t aware of what we don’t know. You may have more of a general feeling of unease. You wonder if:

  • your business could be performing better;
  • your team could be collaborating more;
  • your processes could be more efficient;
  • you have the right answers to cybersecurity risks and issues;
  • your business has the best technological tools to meet its needs.

But the learning curve seems too steep, and you have other things to be doing for your business. Researching new technologies, weighing upgrades, keeping up with cybersecurity, and maintaining and monitoring IT are responsibilities you’d rather avoid.

Yet being uninformed is not going to work as an excuse in a breach, and your employees expect high-quality technology in their work. To recruit and retain people who drive business success, you need IT to support mobility, efficiency, and productivity. Your people want the tools to work smarter, not harder.

That’s why many businesses turn to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) for help.

MSPs Make Your IT Their Business

So, IT isn’t what interests you. That’s fine. Partner instead with a service provider focused on IT. You can keep doing what you do best and care most about. But you can be confident your IT strategy is smart and secure.

Plus, you can save money working with an MSP. For one, the MSP gets to know business processes and objectives to help your IT infrastructure run better.

Your IT partner will identify opportunities for greater efficiency. Perhaps you’re paying for software licenses you don’t need, or you could gain greater mobility and improve business continuity with cloud migration.

Your MSP partner will do the research to make sure your business is benefitting from its IT savvy. The MSP doesn’t gain from selling you more than you need. This expert team shops around for the right plans (whether office broadband, mobile phones, or cloud subscriptions). Even small businesses can access the best technological tools.

The MSP can also provide server monitoring and IT maintenance services. You may know you need antivirus protection and firewalls, but that may not be enough. Your IT partner can do a cybersecurity assessment. This lets your business be proactive instead of trying to fix problems later. Gartner estimates business downtime can cost as much as $5,600 per minute or around $300,000 per hour. That’s a financial hit you want to avoid.

Plus, the right MSP tailors its services to your workload size, regardless of company size. The goal is to match your business with the right technology to do things better and cheaper. It may not interest you, but it’s a fun challenge for our IT experts.

Don’t leave your technology and cybersecurity needs unattended. Be proactive with an MSP as your IT partner. Our experts guide IT strategy, secure systems, and suggest solutions to achieve your business goals.

No matter how you feel about IT, we care a lot. Contact us (416) 645-2469, (905) 667-0441 or email us today!

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Steer Clear of Coronavirus Scams

Steer Clear of Coronavirus Scams

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.

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;
  • 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 (416) 645-2469, (905) 667-0441 or email us today!

How to Stay Focused Working from Home

How to Stay Focused Working from Home

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 (416) 645-2469, (905) 667-0441 or email us today!

Remote Working with Office 365

Remote Working with Office 365

Working from home is a big change in an already tumultuous time. Yet there’s a bright side. The quarantine could be your opportunity to reinvent how you work – for the better. Migrating to Microsoft Office 365 has benefits now. Plus, when you’re back to business as usual.

Office 365 is the cloud-based version of Microsoft Office. With a subscription, you get both the desktop and online versions of apps you already know. This includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, and more.

Office 365 enables collaboration in many ways, on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. For example:

  • Outlook – primarily associated with email, but also lets you share notes and files
  • Teams – a hub for instant messaging, video conferencing and calls
  • SharePoint – an internal content management platform. SharePoint lets you customize team sites where you automate workflows and share resources
  • Yammer – a social network connecting all the users in your organization
  • OneDrive – allows users to share and co-author documents securely

Remote Work with Teams

Microsoft teams at its core is a chat program. But it does so much more. On all your devices, both iOS and Android, Teams allows “channels”. You can have company-wide or small task group channels. Or use a separate channel to instant messaging to a single person.

You can also invite clients or customers into channels to join the discussion. Additionally, you can set up security features that filter what they can access. You don’t want them to know the ingredients to your secret sauce!

Within Teams channels users can share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Teams also integrates with other software. The options include Zendesk customer support, Asana project management, or Zoom video conferencing.

Using Teams in Office 365 creates a streamlined platform for remote work.

Remote Work with OneDrive

Working on premises, your users always had access to the business file server. OneDrive is the cloud equivalent. Yet, since it’s online, it’s always accessible. Microsoft’s hosts the file storage to let you access and share work files from all your devices.

Employees can even work offline. Any changes or edits to files automatically upload when you next connect.

Share OneDrive folders or files with external partners as well. Again, you can secure access with limits on who can see what and specifying what actions they can take. You can even set up automatic revoke access after a set time limit.

Office 365 & Business Security

An Office 365 subscription protects from viruses and cybercrime. It also offers ways to recover your files from malicious attacks.

Office 365 apps update with security patches without any effort on your part. Plus, Outlook scans email attachments and checks links for viruses or phishing scams.

OneDrive helps you restore files, so they’re not held captive in a ransomware attack. Office 365 also lets users encrypt email, prevent forwarding, and secure sensitive files.

Office 365 lets your business communicate and collaborate in real-time. Work on any device, anywhere, at any time. Enjoy business agility and flexibility with internal and external users.

Migrating to the cloud isn’t as simple as pressing the “start” button. Still, our tech experts can get you up and running quickly and with ease. Let us help you go online and get back to business as usual, even working remotely. Call us today at (416) 645-2469, (905) 667-0441 or email us!

Setting Up Your Work from Home Tech

Setting Up Your Work from Home Tech

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 (416) 645-2469, (905) 667-0441 or email us today!

“Have you tried turning it off and on?”

"Have you tried turning it off and on?"

“Have you tried turning it off and on?”

"Have you tried turning it off and on?" There’s one solution to tech problems that everyone knows: turning the device off and then back on again. This go-to move is a bit of a joke in the IT industry. Who needs help-desk support if you can find a power switch? Surprisingly, this approach actually does solve a lot of problems.

Take the Microsoft Windows Blue Screen, for instance. If you see this screen, Windows cannot continue working. Restarting the computer may be the only fix you need.

Sometimes systems will lock up, or an application will freeze, and you can’t do anything except stare at that annoying little icon indicating the computer is stuck. If it’s an application, you can try “Force Quit” (CTL + ALT + Delete in Windows, or Option, Command, and Esc on a Mac). But if that doesn’t work, you may have to force a shutdown. On a Mac you can do this by pressing Command + Control + Option + Power button. On a PC you can hold down the power button for as long as needed for the computer to shut off.

Don’t worry, modern computers are designed to endure unexpected shutdowns. However, it’s definitely safer to use the power button than to pull the plug from the electrical outlet.

When you have issues with internet or network connectivity, powering off your computer may again be the solution. By turning the computer off, you reset its connections to the router, server, or even ISP. This ensures the appropriate information to get online is being communicated back and forth. That doesn’t work? Try powering off the router or modem. The same explanation applies, only now you’re resetting the connection from the other side.

A Couple of Cautions

Before powering off the device, if possible, save documents and close open windows. Unexpectedly turning off a computer may cause data corruption in any files you had open. Make sure that you’re not devastated by a computer freezing up by remembering to save regularly. It is also worth making multiple, incremental copies of your work as you make your way through it. For example, File v1.doc, File v2.doc, etc. You can do this using the “Save As” function.

Keep in mind that when turning something off and on again as a quick fix, you don’t want to go too quickly. Keep the device powered off for 5 – 10 seconds. This will give it the necessary time to reset.

Also, you probably want to avoid turning your computer off and on many times in a day. If you use the device a lot throughout the day, leave it on. Turning the computer on repeatedly can stress the device, especially older computers. Likewise, leaving it on all the time can take a toll, too (and adds to your electricity bill). Really, whether you shut down at the end of the day or after use is going to depend on how you use the computer and how often.

Nevertheless, restarting a computer or any device remains a good way to get it back to the way it was. This time-honored self-service solution isn’t going to do the trick every time, though. Some issues will remain after a reboot, such as a virus infection. Or there could be a hardware issue that needs fixed.

Don’t give up hope. Speak to a professional if powering on and off isn’t the answer. You can be sure an IT expert will have some other ideas to try! Contact us today at (416) 645-2469, (905) 667-0441 or email us today!

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