Stay on top of the Latest IT Tips and Suggestions with this Selection of Blog Posts from BCS

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Making Office Communication Easy 

Modern business relies on phone calls, emails, video conferencing and more for the bulk of information transfer. Unfortunately, many employees (and even their CEOs) are apprehensive when it comes to using virtual communication tools. Whether it’s because they’re unfamiliar with the technology or lack efficient and up-to-date tools, this apprehension hurts your bottom line. It’s important to make office communication easy.

If you notice too many dropped calls or missed important messages, it’s for a reason. It’s an employers job to identify and eliminate that reason. Below, we address the common fears employees have about using communication tools and how to fix-it them.

Lack of Etiquette –

Workers might be avoiding long email strings, chat-oriented apps or conference calls (video and otherwise) because they are unfamiliar with the k proper etiquette on these platforms. Not everyone grew up with virtual communication, so it’s important to ensure employees are comfortable using it.

Write out guidelines and proper procedures when using different mediums and share it with the entire team. That way, no one feels singled out. If you notice there are still some who avoid picking up the phone or cam, suggest role play and coaching as a means to practice.

Too Complicated-

Not all technology is easy to use, especially complicated office phone systems. So many of us are used to making calls easily from our cell phones, and your staff may be avoiding making or answering calls because they just don’t know how to perform regular actions like transferring a call or conferencing in a colleague! It is a great idea to include a phone system guide in your employee welcome packet. If you still see people experiencing difficulties, it may be time for a different system altogether.

Out of Date-

Yes, your office has a chat system, but if it takes too long to send and receive messages, your team won’t use it. Employees steer clear of a system that creates frustration and adds time to their work. That goes for any technology your office uses. It’s imperative to make sure all systems are up to date or they won’t be used. Identify where you need updates with a consultation from BCS Voice and Data. We identify areas where your business can implement better technology to improve efficiency and ultimately help your bottom line.


Your employees’ biggest fear should be the office microwave, not the video conferencing room. BCS Voice and Data can help give your team the tools they need to work efficiently and quickly. Contact us today to learn about our suite of tools to get your team confidently communicating with those around them. 

 

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.

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.

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. 

 

Critical Elements of a Business Backup Systems

There are countless ways to lose your important data, especially if it isn’t backed up regularly.  Information stored on devices falls victim to accidental deletion, hard drive crashes, theft or virus and malware infections. Storing information on paper runs the risk of losing it to fire, flooding or other natural disasters. By saving data on a single device or in one place and not backing up, you gamble on losing it forever. Without critical data, many businesses cannot perform, making a backup system crucial for protecting your business.

There are two steps to creating a proper backup system. First, identify the types of data you need to protect and second, make sure it’s performed regularly.

Identify Critical Data
What needs to be in a data backup? Anything you’ve created or modified. This includes everything from accounting files to emails. When deciding, live by this rule: If losing the data interferes with doing business, protect it.

It’s rare that you need to save applications. Most modern business software deploys through a browser, meaning they aren’t installed on the computer. This software is accessed online through any device. If you lose the device, simply reopen the application with another.

Implement Backups on a Regular Schedule
We recommend backing up your data nightly. There is software that allows you to set a schedule and perform these tasks automatically.  Software that also zips and encrypts files saves space and increases security.

Consider the Cloud
Now that you know the key elements of a backup system, it’s time to consider the best way to implement it. One of the many benefits of cloud storage is for safe, secure off-site backups. By using the cloud, your files live in a secured online account and you don’t depend on a single computer or server open to attacks or accidents. The cloud has other advantages, as well, like automatic backups, minimal infrastructure and quick recovery.

It isn’t easy finding the proper protection method, especially if your business quickly accumulates important information. Hiring a professional IT service like BCS helps navigate the confusion and find the best solution for your business needs. If you need assistance on backing up your data or moving existing archives, contact BCS Voice and Data services today.

The Benefits of Moving Your Phone System to the Cloud

Your company doesn’t need to keep up with every tech trend, but sometimes there are advantages worth investing in. BCS helps firms to decipher what new technologies best suit them, particularly deciding between phone systems. Rather than sticking with traditional hardwired telephone equipment, we’ve found universal benefits by upgrading to a system based in the cloud.

#1 Easy and Cost-Effective Install
Implementing cloud communication is simple compared to a hardwired install. On-site phone systems take longer to establish because they require bulky hardware and labor. With fewer physical components, VoIP (voice over internet protocol) costs are lower and up and running quickly.

#2 Simplify Multiple Locations
Creating identical settings across multiple locations is tricky with the tedious hardware of business phone systems. A key benefit of cloud phone systems is the ability to centrally manage company communications through a single online portal, instead. With a VoIP system, implementing settings through shared software is easy. It also prevents employees from making changes and guarantees all locations stay on the same page with a few clicks.

#3 Automatic Upgrades
Upgrades are inevitable regardless of the phone system you choose. Capitalize on the cloud and give your company an edge with automatic upgrades. Traditional phones require on-site visits and potential downtime while the business owner bears the responsibility and cost. cloud-based environments shift the responsibility to the provider, handling the update virtually. It’s usually done outside of working hours and without service interruption, allowing for frequent upgrades and fewer missed calls.

#4  Accommodate Remote Workers
An on-premise phone system limits the communication capabilities for anyone outside of the office. Keep your remote workers connected despite the distance with a VoIP phone system. It eliminates boundaries by routing traffic to its destination through any internet connection. Send calls to their home office as easily as the actual office.

#5 Trustworthy Modern Security Practices
While you have more direct control over traditional business phones, they aren’t as safe as they seem. Physical office connections suffer more attacks than their cloud counterparts, according to this article. Traditional office hook-ups lack the extra protection from the presence of built-in protocols and encryption tools, like passwords and firewalls.

As with any new technology, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. This is why partnering with an experienced business telephone system integrator like BCS is crucial. We will evaluate your needs and ensure that whatever solution you select, you’re well prepared for future growth. Contact us today for a no-obligation conversation about your business phone system needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Why You Need an IT Support Company That’s Been Around as Long as the Oldest Millennials

Did you know that BCS was founded “way back” in 1983? We started by offering business telephone systems and structured cabling (services and products that are still important parts of our business). We grew through the 80s and 90s and evolved alongside the rapidly changing technology, increased Internet usage, and rode the waves of just about every IT trend that came along. (read more about our history here). 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.

New Tech to Make Life Easier

With the holidays approaching, you’re probably already looking for gifts for the office and your friends and family at home. You may also already be stressed out, trying to handle everything in the office before the extra days off this season. Thankfully, these new tech updates can make your life easier, and your workplace more efficient:

  1. Bluetooth headphones. New Bluetooth headphones, like Apple’s AirPods, are updated versions of those bulky over-the-ear headsets. These make great gifts, but also make life easier when you are on the go, or in cold weather when you can’t use your phone’s touch screen easily.
  2. Smart Speakers. These devices are great to have at home, but are excellent for the office as well. For your busiest days, smart speakers can tell you the weather and read news highlights while you’re settling in, or play music during your office holiday party. When you have too many items on your monitor and need to know something fast, you can ask your device for the information you need.
  3. Tablets. These portable devices aren’t just for browsing Facebook and watching Netflix anymore. If you are frequently on the go or meeting with clients, having a tablet is a convenient way to take and present notes without carrying around loose paper, or getting work done when you don’t have an internet connection available. With the great Apps available from Starleaf and other brands, you can connect with your employees access information remotely.

These three tech updates are a great addition to any office, but not if your systems are failing. 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.