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

Protecting Your Data

If you’ve been keeping up with tech news so far this year, you may be aware of new insight that Google provided on who may have access to your data. They found that hackers could find your stored information in cloud services through your device’s processors. If your business, like many others, relies on computers, tablets and phones to store important information and communicate with clients and employees, this news may be frightening.

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Should I Buy a Used Telephone System?: Cons (Part 2)

In our last blog post, we talked about the benefits of buying a used telephone system rather than one that is brand new. At BCS, we sell and stand behind both used and new phone systems, but acknowledge that different clients have different needs. While used business phone systems typically cost less, are more readily available, and act as a good starting points for many businesses, they also have their drawbacks.

Cons

  • Possible shorter lifespan. While all the used systems we sell are of the highest quality and thoroughly tested, they are typically older and more likely to break down in the future. All products have a shelf-life. If you are planning to upgrade to a new system in the not-too-distant future, then used may be the best option, but if you plan to keep the system long-term, consider buying new.
  • Finding replacement parts can be a chore. Manufacturers start retiring system components after a number of years and when something breaks or you need to add new users, locating the part you need can be a challenge. When you purchase from BCS, however, we will do everything we can to find an identical or comparable component when your system requires it.
  • Less feature-rich. Buying an older system often means settling for fewer cutting-edge features. While this isn’t always the case, you will experience a bit of a trade-off when purchasing used.

No matter which route you choose, BCS Voice & Data can find you the business phone system that fits your company’s size, mission, and unique needs. Call our sales department today at (757) 497-3100 to talk about your options.

Small IT Upgrades Lead to Big Improvements

Has your business technology kept up with the needs of your workforce? Many small-to-medium sized businesses stick with what they know over a period of years because updating technology seems like an overwhelming investment of both time and money. This leads to network downtime, lost productivity, and in some cases, frustrated employees. Our advice is to make the following upgrades piece by piece. It doesn’t all have to be done at once, but here are a few options to consider:

  • A Better VoIP Business Phone System. Most businesses have long since graduated from traditional PBX telephone systems to affordable, richly featured, and adaptable VoIP phones. Recent years have seen vast improvements on the VoIP model and it may be time to check out your options. Our manufacturers carry systems that offer mobile twinning, integrated video conferencing, and seamless unified communications functionality. These features make it easy for employees to work remotely and accommodate an expanding team.
  • Sound Masking. If your office has an open floor plan or is a call center, you probably face a great deal of ambient noise that can disrupt phone conversations and video conferences. Cut down on the chatter and clatter your clients hear with a sound masking system. BCS’s IT consulting pros can assess your office space and come up with a workable strategy to mask ambient noise and thus enhance your professional image and employee productivity.
  • Virtualization Implementation. Virtualization is the creation of a virtual version of operating systems, storage devices, network resources, or software. It’s smart to include a virtual component server-side, especially as your business grows. Virtualization

BCS Voice & Data Solutions is an IT consulting and network monitoring company in Virginia Beach, Virginia, that serves clients both locally and nationally. Whether you are looking for a VoIP business phone system, structured cabling services, or basic IT consulting, we can help. Call our sales desk today at (757) 497-3100 to discuss your company’s unique needs and how BCS can help!

Your New Year’s Resolution: 365 Days of NO Network Downtime

Did you make any resolutions at the beginning of the month? Maybe you want to lose a few pounds, spend less time on your phone, or save up for that vacation. Whatever you resolved to do, we’re at the point when you may be slipping on those resolutions (no judgment here!). One way to regain control over the positive changes you want to make is to get an accountability partner. This person can help keep you on track and remind you why you started in the first place! You can also carry this principle into the professional sphere.

Maybe you haven’t made concrete “new year’s resolutions” for your business, but we’re sure you have goals that you would like to accomplish in 2017. We have a suggestion: Resolve to totally avoid network downtime this year. Downtime can cause stress, lost productivity, and even loss of revenue. If your company experienced undue network interruptions in 2016, now is the time to make BCS your professional accountability partner.

Our network monitoring services  include:

  • Remote monitoring– We keep you connected from afar and can access any IP-enabled device and take control when necessary. Over 90% of our monitoring services can be delivered remotely.
  • Remote automation– Routine IT tasks no longer need to take up mental space thanks to automation. Things like defragging, back-ups, auto restart and end point security and other manual tasks can happen automatically.
  • Virtual Machine Management–We detect, monitor and manage  VMWware and oversee the key hardware components of ESX and ESXi servers. This allows us to identify and fix the problem before it causes any kind of downtime.
  • Self-healing–When a specified network failure occurs, BCS Network Monitoring automatically detects it and executes a pre-configured solution.
  • Technician Mobility– Our techs can access network monitoring capability from any iOS or Android device. This enables our team to log in and respond to all alerts and activites without being next to the BCS Network Monitoring console, thus increasing efficiency.

The bottom line is this: In the hands of BCS Voice and Data, you don’t need to worry about annoying, detrimental downtime. 365 days of no downtime? It’s like making a resolution that only involves a phone call to BCS. Call us today at (757) 497-3100 to talk more about our Network Monitoring Services.

Bring Calm to Your Office With BCS

The holidays bring with them their fair share of joy and cheer, but if we are being honest with ourselves, we know that they also bring with them quite a bit of stress. From parties to school concerts to traveling and relatives visiting, your personal life is full of extra obligations and “to-dos.” Your professional life doesn’t need to be the same way.

Let BCS Voice & Data Solutions bring you the peace of mind you deserve. We offer a number of services to businesses that take the pressure off of leaders and employees and streamline the IT processes that make companies work. Call us today about any of the following:

Happy holidays from BCS! We are your source for IT information and support. Relax this season. We’ve got your back. Call us today at (757) 497-3100.

Should You Outsource IT Support?

What are your biggest barriers to productivity and progress as a business owner? If you’re like most people, technology issues are near the top the list. Whether it’s a hacked server or the time and energy required for keeping software and hardware up to date, some people find that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to effectively keep IT management in house.  This is especially true for small businesses with smaller staff sizes. One effective solution that many companies take advantage of is IT outsourcing and management. Would it be a good fit for your business? Consider these factors.

  • The size and skill diversity of your team. Like we implied, businesses with fewer employees tend to put many hats on each of those employees.  If the person replacing the toner in the copier is the same person you call when the network is down, you may benefit from outsourcing those network related tasks.
  • The extent of your IT needs.  Do you only have a few computers and a basic business phone system or is your situation more complex? If you have intricate structured cabling or require an enterprise-level cloud environment, outsourcing could help free up precious time.
  • The potential for a hybrid IT management strategy. When making IT support decisions, business owners sometimes take an “all or nothing” approach by default. Either they keep it all in house or outsource all technology and network related tasks. This doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, many of our clients thrive by hiring us to work with their IT staff.

What Can BCS Voice & Data Handle for You? 

At BCS, we tailor our IT support services to each company’s unique needs. Some of these services include:

  • 24/7 network monitoring
  • Priority queuing
  • Server maintenance
  • Onsite hardware maintenance for clients in Virginia Beach and beyond
  • Anti-Virus updates
  • Backup monitoring
  • Periodic security audits

Call BCS at (757) 497-3100 today to learn more about how we can help your business run more efficiently and with a greater degree of security.

Network Monitoring & the Importance of Technician Mobility

technician-mobilityAs a busy professional, the security, efficiency and stability of the network that keeps business running is a priority. But as busy professionals know, technology doesn’t always work the way you want or need it to. That’s where the help of a trusted network monitoring service comes in. You shouldn’t have to worry about the issues that cause network downtime and you need to know that the company you choose to manage it can correct problems quickly and completely. Read more

Ensuring Quality Conference Calls

Businesspeople in MeetingHolding conference calls is one of the biggest necessary evils in the business world. Clients tell us all the time how much they dislike the starts, stops and connectivity issues that go along with teleconferencing and how they wish there was a way to communicate effectively from afar.

However, there are some tips and tricks you can take advantage of to ensure that your conference call is perfectly productive.

  1. Make sure your staff knows the objective. This includes knowing details pertinent to the goal of the call, and making sure everyone knows that time is money and chit chat is wasting it. A short meeting before the call, or simply a whiteboard in the room with objectives and information displayed within eyesight can help. An informed team can effectively work together to achieve any goal.
  2. Test your equipment beforehand. Anyone in the technology sector will understand that equipment doesn’t always work properly. Screens can stay black, microphones can die, speakers can emit high-pitch interference, and internet can drop completely at times in any office building. But testing your setup a day or more beforehand can give you time to fix the minor problems you may encounter BEFORE the call with a prospective client.
  3. Find a quiet place. And we aren’t talking about meditation… a conference call that sounds like it is is coming from a coffee shop is never a good thing. It is unprofessional, and can lead to drastic miscommunication or instances of over-clarification. A secluded space, or even just a room with a door can make all the difference when trying to impress someone over the phone.
  4. State your name before speaking. Since the conference call attendees are not all in the same room, it is important for others on the line to know who is speaking so that they can better understand the context of your comments. In some cases you may also want to state your role, company, or location after your name; this is most relevant when your conference call includes people from other groups or organizations that have never met you face-to-face.
  5. Define a clear leader. Every conference call should have a clear, defined leader. The leader should be the ones that emails out the agenda ahead of the call, directs the conversation, makes sure everyone sticks to the agenda, pays attention to time, and sends any follow up action item emails or additional meeting invites.

Is a Cloud CRM Right for Your Business?

cloud storage servicesBenefits of a Cloud CRM

Cloud computing has changed many aspects of business.  Some studies indicate that cloud platforms will dominate IT spending by next year, and half of all businesses will be using cloud-based software by 2017.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is frequently the first platform businesses move to the cloud.  Like traditional CRM software, these platforms track sales interactions and identify patterns.  Using a cloud-based platform has some particular advantages.

1) Cost

Many cloud solutions mean upfront costs are significantly lower. Cloud based CRMs are usually subscription-based and paid monthly.  There’s no upfront licensing or installation fees.

2) Productivity

Cloud-based CRMs are very helpful for employee productivity, especially for sales people that are working off-site, at conferences, or from a customer’s location.  The ability to access the CRM from anywhere is exceptionally helpful when a team is spread out. Additionally, it scales easily for businesses in a major phase of growth.

3) Advanced Data and Analytics

Many CRMs offer excellent business intelligence without the need for manual uploading and backups.  Because cloud-based softwares sync in real time, executives can always have a current picture of customer data, sales, and invoices.

 

While there are many advantages to Cloud CRMs, it’s important to ask the right questions when choosing a provider.  As many companies learned during the recent Verizon cloud outage, not all clouds are the same. Before committing to a platform, ask about up-time, back-ups, and security.  If you want help choosing the right cloud provider, give us a call. We’d be happy to help you find the right solution for your business.