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Unapproved apps are a security risk for your business

It’s likely a lot of the applications and software tools you’re using now are different from the ones your business used before the pandemic.

That’s because we’ve all had to make big adjustments to the way we communicate and collaborate.

And to begin with, it may have been hit and miss. It’s possible in the first few weeks and months that your employees had to use whatever tools they had available to them.

Now that we’ve settled into permanent new ways of working, we can pick the software tools that best suit our businesses.

Unfortunately, your employees might not like your choice of which apps should be used within the company. And some of them may continue to use the ones they prefer, despite the security risk that comes with that.

A recent survey found a massive 92% of employees want more control over the software, collaboration tools, and applications they use. And 51% continue to use apps that have been banned by IT departments.

It’s putting business owners in a difficult position.

Blocking apps and software may lead to employees feeling untrusted. This can lead to frustration and lack of motivation. It can really have a negative impact on your business.

But ignoring the issue can be just as bad. Unvetted apps can be a big security risk, leaving your data open to theft and your systems vulnerable to malware.

So, what’s the answer?

We’d always suggest having open conversations with your people. It’s a good idea to invite feedback on the software you want to use. After all, your people are the ones using it day-in, day-out.

Take their suggestions on alternatives if the consensus is you’re using the wrong solutions and commit to looking into their viability.

It’s also a very good idea to make sure your people fully understand the risks that come with using unapproved apps, and the impact that can have on a business.

Even in cases where your team are all sticking to approved tools, keeping them educated on the latest cyber security initiatives is a smart move.

Can we help you find the most suitable communication and productivity tools for your business? We’ve helped lots of business owners do this. Get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Frustrated man computer network

Common Business Communication Fears

What’s the biggest fear in running your company? For many entrepreneurs and executive teams it’s the potential of losing clients or prospects  due to simple communication issues. Even though these issues are easily avoidable, it happens all the time, and is incredibly frustrating for all involved. Nothing annoys business owners more than easily preventable issues that cost them business.

Here are some common problems that can scare clients away:

  1. Never reaching a real person.

    If your phone system is too complicated and your employees can’t be reached quickly, or the call is dropped, clients can’t communicate efficiently. It’s important to be available at all times, especially if your company distinguishes itself by providing stellar customer service. Make sure your phone system can handle your business needs. It’s also important that employees are trained on how to use it effectively. Also, double check to make sure your connection is solid.

  2. Being out-of-date.

    No one wants to work with a company that uses out-of-date tools. Not only will it hurt efficiency when working together, but gives the appearance of a low-budget and lack of knowledge. From conference room equipment to shared file storage and business phone systems, having outdated equipment means your impression with current clients falls flat — and certainly won’t impress potential clients. Always have a backup method for storing information and consider updating any tool that’s no longer serving its purpose. If you aren’t sure, contact BCS Voice and Data for a consultation.

  3. Down time.

    No matter what your business does, it’s important that your network is working at all times. Frequent downtime is sure to hurt your bottom line and scare away any clients that rely on you to make announcements, initiate updates or run their services. One of the best investments to make if your company relies on technology, is in IT support and network monitoring that can help your office run smoothly.

If you want to prevent these client and prospecting fears, give BCS a call. Whether it’s remote network monitoring services and IT support, cloud-based phone systems or conference room solutions, our experts are here to improve communication and keep your information safe and accessible. Contact us today at (757) 497-3100 today, or use our online form.

digital signs

The Benefits of Digital Signage

Digital signage is an electronic display platform used for advertising, generating brand awareness and delivering important information about a company’s products or services via high-quality graphics and videos.

This technology has transformed the way businesses large and small communicate with customers. From finding a gate at the airport to ordering lunch, consumers see information everywhere. As digital signs become the industry standard, here are three ways every company can benefit from their use.

1.Low Cost 

Digital signage eliminates the need for printing, which is a big savings. The cost of printing brochures, menu boards, traditional billboards and posters represents a large part of marketing budgets. By saving here, businesses can invest more in creating high-quality and compelling content, instead.

2. Stay Competitive 

Research shows that consumers respond less to print ads due to heightened awareness of digital communications. That makes it more important than ever to keep up with digital forms of communication, or risk being seen as out of touch and obsolete.  

3. Easily Stay Up-To-Date

The best aspect of this digital platform is it’s convenience. Changes are done on- or off-site, as often as necessary and with just a few clicks. Adding a new service, updating information or menu item doesn’t require the time or money that comes with re-printing traditional marketing materials. 

4. Grab Attention 

You can incorporate anything from emergency alerts to full-motion graphics into these modern displays. That means, they can grab and hold attention that would otherwise be lost.  

With digital signage, the possibilities are endless. BCS Voice and Data works closely with you to design the perfect solution for your operational requirements and aesthetic tastes.  Contact us today to learn more about options for your business.

How To Tap Into The Remote Workforce 

New technologies are making it easier than ever to collaborate with teams of freelancers and remote employees. With less overhead, greater flexibility and access to a bigger talent pool, many companies are eager to tap into this modernization advantage. 

Read more

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.

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.

A/V Solution: Projectors

Communicating ideas, figures and numbers to an audience is already difficult – especially with no visual aid. With the availability of technology and the ability to connect your computer to a television, this may seem like the solution. But what about for larger rooms where more people might need to see the screen?

Projectors have come a long way, and are still one of the most affordable and convenient way to display your message. Not sure if a projector is right for you? Check out these examples of where they are commonly used:

  1. Classrooms. Teachers and professors need more than just a whiteboard or a chalkboard, especially when classrooms are maxing at 30 students and lecture halls hold hundreds of students. Visual aids are especially important for some students to retain information, which is why a projector is one of the most essential items for a classroom setting. This extends to professional training rooms as well as in the corporate environment.
  2. Events. All of your favorite TED talks? Inspirational speeches? Public film events? They are using projectors. Just like the way teachers use visual aids, accompanying an important point you’re making with an image will help listeners remember what you’re saying long after the event is over.
  3. Offices. Whether you’re training new employees or presenting statistics to a client, you’re going to have materials to show them. Printing charts out can get confusing for others, especially if you’re moving along quickly and they don’t know where to look. Posters and cardboard visuals can get expensive and can be wasteful if you’re going to throw them out afterwards. Plus, they are hard to edit with last-minute changes. A projector allows you to quickly flip back and forth through pages of information and physically point to where you want your audience to look.

If you think a projector is right for your project, contact BCS Voice & Data at (757) 497-3100 today for a no-obligation recommendation and estimate.

Hurry! It’s Hurricane Season.

It’s officially hurricane season, which for most people at home means stocking up on extra water, batteries and flashlights in case of potential power outages. But what about at the office?

You’re not likely to worry about a tree falling into your office building or having enough snacks on hand, but every time the power goes out or a bad storm hits, you risk the loss of your saved documents (and if you’re someone who doesn’t hit the save button frequently, all of the ones you’re working on). Now is a great time to take a look at your data protection plan and make sure you are up to date on all of your procedures.

First: Does your company have a backup strategy, and are your employees familiar with your data backup plan? Scheduling regular backups and making sure employees are following through on them, or outsourcing an IT company to handle backups for you will ensure minimal date loss if a problem were to occur.

Second: Where are your backups going? An on-site location, off-site where your IT company stores them, or to the cloud? If a storm is on the way and your information is stored elsewhere, you may want to check with your IT company or cloud support to make sure your data will be safe. Redundancy is good when it comes to sensitive or hard-to-replace data.

If you aren’t sure about either of these questions, BCS can help you develop an effective plan, and with our managed services, can take care of the entire process for you. Remember, backups aren’t just for storms, either – they help with data recovery for a variety of reasons, including hacking, virus & malware infections, drive or hardware failures, and even accidental deletions.

If you’re concerned about how to protect and recover your date during hurricane season, or any other time of the year, give us a call at (757) 497-3100 today.

Why BCS?

With so much information available online today, it can be tough to make the decision to outsource IT solutions. You may also find that with there are a plethora of companies offering similar services and wonder, “Why BCS?”

Our mission has always been to provide our clients consulting, hardware and services that maximize the value and effectiveness of their business technology. We share in the responsibility of achieving business objectives but never sacrifice ethics or integrity, and our dedicated, qualified employees always deliver professional service.

This means that not only do we provide you with phone systems, video conferencing systems, IT support, structured cabling, digital signs and digital whiteboards, but that we also work with you to assess your company’s needs to make sure you are getting the right product. We want to make sure that your business is running smoothly and efficiently because of the products you choose.

Our service doesn’t stop after you’ve purchased products for your business. Whether you’re signed up for our managed IT support services, or just need equipment repair or computer networking, BCS is here for you! With an impressive fleet available, our support team responds promptly to address your technical needs. Once we are alerted of your emergency, on-call technicians and their managers are notified simultaneously to ensure a timely and satisfactory response to your call.

We also continuously follow technological developments to introduce the best possible products. If a new version of a product is released, we do our research to make sure it is going to be useful and cost-effective for our clients. For instance, our blog post on the new StarLeaf updates will give you all the information you need to install their new app!

Find out how a quality, knowledgeable IT support company can provide you with a high ROI and provide the best possible solutions and services.  Contact us today to learn more and for select case studies relevant to your industry.

Updates from StarLeaf

New From StarLeaf

Those who are familiar with Starleaf Breeze know that it is one of the easiest-to-use video conferencing solutions available today. This system provides a greater user experience for everyone involved by avoiding audio interruptions, frozen screens and disconnected users, no matter how far away. It’s perfect for offices with remote workers, national or international clients, or for those that hope to have some.

StarLeaf is the affordable, scalable video conferencing solutions for businesses with anywhere from five to 500 employees, and their app makes it even easier!

The StarLeaf App works anywhere, on any device, making your system even more accessible for employees to collaborate, share and discuss ideas easily while at work and on the move, and is completely interoperable with other third-party video calling devices. This means that even if an employee is stuck at the airport, at a conference, or anywhere else outside of the office, they can still participate in important calls and video chats at the touch of a button.

The App also operates with your organization’s existing IT infrastructure, and can be installed on new devices in a matter of minutes without any specialist knowledge or skills. Despite being accessible on any network and connection, all of your sensitive information can be protected and controlled through a comprehensive admin portal – allowing you to quickly remove users and data.

With a business version of the App, you also gain access to StarLeaf app support, a desktop subscription, and a larger amount of meeting participates for your network.

If you don’t currently have StarLeaf Breeze and are ready to utilize the system to make video communication easier and more affordable, Call us today at (757) 497-3100 to schedule demo of any of the StarLeaf video conferencing products.

If you already have the system and wish to install the app for even better communication with clients and employees, download it now through the StarLeaf website.