News about BCS Voice & Data in Virginia Beach

office worker at computer

Quick Tech Gift Guide

With the holidays approaching, you’re probably already looking at gifts for office colleagues. With everyone trying to do more during their workday, we suggest gifting coworkers and employees with useful technologies that help them do just that! Become the best gift-giver this year with these tech tools that will make everyone’s lives easier and help your workplace run smoothly: 

Bluetooth Headphones

Do you have employees who are always on the phone? A customer service agent requires a crisp, great-sounding headset with a great connection to deliver the best service possible. 

Bluetooth headphones are updated versions of bulky over-the-ear headsets. These make great gifts, but also make life easier when you are multitasking or on the go.

E-Tip Gloves

E-Tip gloves may not be a tech item, but they make using your tech a lot easier in the winter.

Keeping endless lists, taking notes and staying in constant contact means using touch screens to do it all. No one wants to take off their gloves just to open their phone or answer a text! Help everyone hurdle this inconvenient frustration with a nice pair of E-tip gloves.

Tablet

If your team is frequently on the go, meeting with clients or collaborating with one another, having a tablet is a convenient way to keep the software and information they need at their fingertips. If you’ve invested in virtualization, your employees can access what they need and join video conferences on the go with helpful apps available from Starleaf and other brands.


These three items help your colleagues free up time and be more efficient in and out of the office. To learn more about the solutions that BCS offers to keep your office running smoothly, give us a call at (757) 497-3100, or use our online contact form.

Cloud Storage is Risky

The Risks of Consumer Cloud Storage

You’ve undoubtedly heard the names and would recognize the logos of the biggest players in the current cloud storage market. This widely used software provided by GoogleDrive, Dropbox and Amazon Cloud Drive have millions of users between them. Just because they’re popular, doesn’t mean you should trust them with your company’s important data. We recommend ignoring the hype and doing some research before signing up. 

The convenience of consumer cloud storage: inexpensive syncing among employees and their devices, isn’t necessarily a fair trade off for the risks your company takes. These file share solutions answer a single problem while opening you up to many more. Here are three big risks you take when using cloud storage for your company: 

  1. No Tech Support:

    Users of cloud-based storage technologies must deal with slow to non-existent tech support. Many of these large companies divert frustrated customers (you) to a robot chat box or delayed online support for answers. That means, there will be little help and potential long-term downtime when you or your team has trouble accessing important data.

  2. No Control Over Data:

    Data is nothing to play with. If your employees and customers trust you with sensitive information, it’s your responsibility to keep it out of the wrong hands. You allow data to be stored in servers around the world by using third-party cloud-based services. That means, no assurance of what laws are protecting it or when. One thing you can be sure of, it’s only a matter of time until someone unauthorized attempts to access it. 

  3. Remote Devices:

    Using a remote staff will save on traditional costs associated with running a business. However, allowing remote workers to use their own devices introduces a significant security risk, especially if you’re using cloud sharing software. Remote employees’ devices are rarely adequately protected and easily become another portal for cyber criminals and hackers to access information. 

 

It’s critical that organizations keep the above security issues in mind before making the switch. Instead, hire a company like BCS Voice and Data, who will design and implement a secure wireless network to meet your specific needs. The cloud may be right for your business, but there are alternatives that significantly help mitigate the risks. Contact us today for a consultation or with questions about our services.

Protect yourself by creating a safety culture at work

Creating a Cyber-Safe Culture 

In this cyber environment, business owners and employees must be aware of the horrors of an insecure system. Criminals can hack into corporate property and compromise customer information, sometimes even holding it for ransom. Methods such as these recently brought the entire city of Baltimore to a halt for multiple days.

Although it’s everyone’s duty to assist their organization against targeted attacks and security breaches; the importance of cyber security should be strongly delivered from your top management team at all times. Here are three tips to build a sound cyber security culture in your workplace.

1. Maintain a sound password policy
The most common passwords of 2018 were “111111”,  “12345678” and “password”. Many of us, including your employees, will forgo a safe password for one that’s easy to remember or quick to type into their login screen. With data that must stay secure, you can’t risk anyone using something easily guessed. Avoid this issue by instituting a proper password policy. This policy should make common passwords off-limits and create a required framework for combining numerals, letters and punctuation. It should also force frequent password changes.

2. Train employees on Workplace security
Conduct regular training for employees to learn how to identify suspicious cyber activities and report them. Educate teams on how to use their resources to analyze emails and attachments and be wary of activity they did not do or request. Additionally, make it easy for employees to report anything out of the ordinary. Share incidents of cybercrimes with your employees and discuss how your organization is equipped to combat similar attacks.

3. Act as a Role Model
If you are a manager or business owner, it is up to you to enthusiastically communicate security objectives and adhere to them. Practice what you preach and lock your system whenever you leave your desk. Doing so will encourage your employees to contribute to a positive and secure environment as well.

If you have any questions about how to better protect your systems, don’t hesitate to contact us at BCS Voice and Data. We offer solutions and support for any business with safety concerns, and provide additional services depending on your business needs. Contact us today for a no-obligation conversation about how we help keep data safe.

Network Cabling and Structured cabling

How Structured Cabling Pays Off

Many business owners are skeptical about the benefits of structured cabling.The prevailing myth being that only big companies with excessive wiring and an immediate need for more productivity can afford the enhancement. We beg to differ.

Sales offices, customer service departments and call centers remain common work environments that require the service. But, any business with even a small telecoms network will reap the rewards. Here are the ways we see structured cabling paying dividends for all business: 

1. Organization

Look around your office. Are there wires piling at the bottom of desks? Some with redundant uses and cords that don’t even work? Structured cabling eliminates the mess and gives your office a modern and sleek look. You’ll have confidence when prospective clients or visitors are on-site. Additionally, a tidy and presentable space creates a more productive working environment.

2. Faster Speeds

The worst scenario for any business is slow data when interacting with an important client. You don’t want to compromise your professionalism due to slow data speeds. Structured cabling uses high quality cables, including fiber optic connections, to decrease noise and interference, while increasing bandwidth and speed. Not only will your current data travel faster, but operations will not slow if additional connections are ever needed.

3. Minimal Downtime

That brings us to our next benefit, minimal downtime. You can’t risk current tasks when it’s time to upgrade or grow. With a direct point A to point B connection, both software and hardware upgrades are quicker. Better organization means that if you encounter a problem, it’s exact location is easier to find. And finally, increased bandwidth will accommodate additional equipment without slowing down other operations. 

4. Positioned for Growth

We have yet to encounter a business that didn’t want to grow, so BCS Voice and Data ensures the cable and network structure grows with you. Our designers create an organized framework that is easy to configure as your business grows, meaning you’ll be able to adapt without major additional investment.

Although the organized look is part of it’s draw, structured cabling is more than meets the eye. It ensures that you have a scalable infrastructure in place to best optimize your voice and data needs for years to come. Contact BCS Voice and Data to learn more from our team of designers and technicians about how structured cabling can work for you.

Reasons to Invest in Your Remote Workforce

The advantages of creating a remote workforce are making it an increasingly popular option for business. Improved technology makes old deterring factors, like communication and data sharing, simple while employers save on facilities costs and scheduling hassles. BCS frequently connects remote staff to their corporate headquarters through cloud computing and networking methods, but we often see one drawback. That is, remote staff doesn’t always get the best equipment.

Although they aren’t on-premises, it’s still important (if not more so) to invest in the tools these workers receive. Why? Because more than other employees, they rely on their devices. If a remote worker is experiencing a malfunction, they can’t walk down the hall for help, and will lose valuable time if their network connection and equipment isn’t efficient. Your remote staff is only as good as the tools you give them, so consider these reasons for investing in the technology they use:

1. Durability
Satellite employees use their laptop every day. The last thing that you want is to replace it on a regular basis. Buying a cheap laptop now might mean saving money in the short-term, but over time, the cost of replacing cheaper computers quickly adds up. Instead, a high-end, commercial-grade laptop ensures they have a durable, reliable piece of tech that’s going to last a long time.

2. Quality Assurance
Make sure your workers trust the performance of their tools. Do the research to find what they need. Consider the tools, accessories and software most important to complete their duties. For example, a customer service agent requires a crisp, great-sounding headset and reliable telecommunications system to deliver the best service, while a graphic designer will need a fast processor to render creations without downtime. Ask your IT team or consult BCS Voice and Data if you need help determining what is best for your team.

3. Good Relationships
It’s common to see companies with not-so-best practices making employees feel unhappy or dejected. Distributing poorly maintained and repurposed devices demonstrates a low worth, leading to a negative response. Disgruntled staff contributes to low production, high turnover and reduced ownership over their duties and your company’s success. With so much research proving the pay-off, it’s necessary for businesses to show they value their teams, or risk losing them. One of the simplest ways to do so, is by trusting them with high-end tools that demonstrate their importance to the company they work for.

BCS Voice and Data implements efficient systems for business with both on-premise and remote staff, no matter what jobs they perform. Contact us today for a consultation or ask about services to keep your teams connected and up-to-date.

Costs of Choosing Reactive IT Services

Profit is normally the end goal for businesses, so it makes sense that owners look for the most cost-efficient options when it comes to outsourcing work. But sometimes frugality results in costly mistakes down the road. We often find that’s the case with IT support services, particularly when we are called in to fix problems that could have been avoided.

When technology works, it’s tempting to believe it always will. That belief can make it hard to see the value in a long-term IT service, so many businesses cut costs by forgoing them. In its place, they respond reactively tech problems, only calling professionals when there is an issue. Even then, many owners will put off calling support thinking the problem will fix itself. Unfortunately, this approach leads to temporary patches, poor security and inefficient billing, creating more issues and higher costs over time. 

Here are some of the typical costs associated with reactive IT methods:

Temporary Solutions: Finding support sporadically means inviting someone with a minimal understanding of your network into its delicate environment. They attempt to rectify an issue without knowing the underlying cause, resulting in patch or temporary fix. These methods leave your internal systems haphazardly chopped together, creating more issues. Without a doubt, you will need to call again. An IT service like BCS creates a finely tuned and fully functional system that’s maintained by a professional familiar with your network.

Poor Security: Viruses and Ransomware don’t download themselves. User must facilitate it. Disgruntled or unknowing employees and anonymous visitors commonly introduce malicious software into networks. Not every IT company is equipped to step in when these disasters hit. If you only hire support reactively, you’ll waste time finding a capable provider while your network collapses. This severely limits what you’ll recover. Not only will long-term IT help defend you against disaster better, but they will be on call for you when it hits. 

Additional Hourly Time: Most outsourced IT companies have hourly or block billing. That means you’re billed during the time a technician is learning about your network before solving the issue. They may use hours of paid time to research your problem and educate themselves at your cost. Avoid these costs by investing in a consistent service, with a team who provides ongoing monitoring and understands your system, and can therefore work quickly. 

Don’t cut corners by only hiring IT help during a problem. You’ll get inadequate protection in the least cost-effective way. BCS Voice and Data provides managed IT support for any small to large business with monthly proactive services. Learn more on our Managed Support page or call us today for more information on what we can do for you. 

 

Growing Your Business With Technology Basics

All business owners begin their venture with a mind for growth. In the past, growth wasn’t easy. Expansion sometimes presented more problems than opportunity. That’s because issues like managing larger teams or keeping costs low were difficult obstacles with limited solutions.  

With modern advances in technology, come improved methods for businesses to scale effectively and create opportunities for increased profit at the same time. Much of what presented obstacles 30 years ago are now problems of the past. That doesn’t mean growth is always easy, though.  

Here are some of our best suggestions for growing your business with new technologies on the horizon:

Utilize the Power of the Cloud

There are many benefits of using cloud-based programs and applications, but it’s especially conducive to growing companies.  

With these scalable tools, you and your employees have the freedom to manage operations from anywhere, any device and at any time. That means your team expands but your facility expenditure doesn’t have to, thanks to a remote workforce. For example, cloud-based phone systems can maintain the impression that your employees are on-premises by granting them a phone line wherever they are based. While cloud-distributed software means employees can access the systems they need, wherever they are.

Additionally, the cloud updates easily. Once you implement these types of systems, staying up-to-date is much easier.

Shifting your business to the cloud is a great approach to increase employee coordination, reduce spending and stay current, while growing the business.

Leverage the WIFI

These days, people wish to stay connected everywhere they go. Therefore, offering free WIFI to your customers is an effective marketing tool. We mentioned many of these benefits in a previous post but in terms of growth, it’s an instant win. Free WIFI increases client satisfaction meaning more business and increased profit. This applies to retail spaces, hospitality and even office environments – happy guests and visitors lead to happy customers, clients, partners and vendors.

Hire an IT Firm

No matter what your industry is, increased dependency on technology is inevitable. Unfortunately, new tech isn’t foolproof. A crashed telephone system or network brings business operations to a halt. Fixing these issues require a professional technician, but companies don’t need an in-house team. Maintain the bottom line by hiring IT consulting firms who will monitor your network and spot issues before they become show-stopping problems. Leading IT firms maximize the potential growth of your company by implementing and maintaining new technology correctly. The great ones can help you plant for the future and provide scalable solutions as well.

If you are a growing company and want to know how a firm like BCS Voice and Data can help, visit our website or call us today.  

 

Benefits of Establishing a Guest Wifi for your Business

Business owners and their staff hear one question all too often, “Do you have WiFi?”.  Whether hosting a small business meeting or daily influx of customers, the need for visitors to connect is unavoidable. Granting unlimited access to everyone introduces many security issues, so consider establishing a guest WiFi as a solution. This practice accommodates visitors and protects your company’s network. Read more

Create Fewer “Out of Office” Days

Your business may thrive more having all of your employees in-office, but what happens on days the weather takes a turn? Winter temperatures are here, which means the possibility of snow days is increasing quickly. Is your office equipped to access the information you need from home?

Even if you don’t plan on having remote workers, making sure your office is ready for a work-from-home day will set you up for success. What does this mean? It’s different for every company, but here are a few suggestions.

1. Easy access to information. Making sure your employees can access the files they need remotely ensures a productive work day, even remotely. This can be done by having a cloud-based network for your employees to save information to and access from any device.

2. Cloud-based phone system. With mobile device integration, calls to desktop phones in your office can be directly routed to your employee’s mobile phones. This means that on days you just have one or two people in the office, everyone can stay connected with fewer missed calls from clients and customers.

3. Video conferencing. The holidays are often the busiest time of year, with lots of meetings to review the year and starting planning for the new one, and time off. A reliable video conferencing system means you won’t have to reschedule important meetings when you have deadlines approaching.

BCS Voice and Data carries a variety of cloud-based phone systems and video conferencing systems, and offers IT Support to help keep your offices running, stress-free. We also complete the set up and installation, and train your users to avoid confusion and mistakes once the system is ready. If you’re ready to improve your office systems to stay connected remotely, contact BCS Voice & Data today at (757) 497-3100 to find out what will work best for you.

Back to School Checkup

Almost every parent has a back-to-school checklist for their child: annual physical, new clothes, school supplies, etc. But what about the school? Many schools, both public and private, have been operating for a long time. This means that throughout the years, they have had their own checklist to run through to make sure every part of the building is running smoothly when students return – including technology.

For schools, the most important system is the phones. Parents need to be able to contact administrators without worrying about getting disconnected or a busy line, and administrators need to be able to connect to the right classroom to reach teachers quickly. For your back-to-school checkup, make sure your phone system is still working for you.

Another important system to check is the one you use to teach students. Is your school still running on old, roller cart projectors? To make use of all of the amazing tools out there for students and teachers now, and encourage participation through interactive tools, update your technology with new projectors or smart boards!

Finally, you’ll want to check your computers for updates, and double check your network security. With the amount of online programs used to log grades and assign upload homework, keeping your student’s information protected is important, and keeping your network updated and secure will make the school year a breeze for teachers, parents and administrators.

However, we know that busy teachers and administration don’t have time to manage technology and troubleshoot issues as they come. That’s why outsourcing IT strategy, maintenance, monitoring and repair is a smart choice for many schools and school divisions. For more information and expert advice on choosing the best options for your school, contact BCS Voice & Data at (757) 497-3100.