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Resources: Productivity

Hybrid Workforce: Understanding Nuances and Pitfalls

Since Coronavirus turned things on their head, businesses across the globe have responded well to enforcing remote working. And now, things are on the move again. Businesses are trying to decide how things will look in a post-Covid world. Many workers and businesses don’t see a complete return to office working anytime soon, therefore introducing a hybrid workforce.

Recent surveys tell us that over 50% of workers in the U.S. favor a mix of office and home working. Other surveys predict the numbers of remote workers will double before they begin to drop. Pre-pandemic, less than 20% of employees worked at home. Whatever the final number happens to be, businesses need to be flexible to the constant changes. 

Present Arrangements 

Currently, businesses are dealing with these changes in different ways. Some companies have set dates for their employees to work remotely until the summer of 2021. Others have started to bring back people into the workplace on varied schedules. 

And some are letting the individual employee decide where to work. Everyone is trying to figure out the best possible life/work arrangement.  

Longer-term Expectations 

Companies across the globe are beginning to consider what things will look like in the long term. They’re looking at how to structure work hours, office communication, and physical presence. What many businesses are considering is a hybrid working model that combines office working with remote working. 

What would Hybrid Workforce look like? 

When we use the term ‘hybrid’, it sounds like we’re giving employees more freedom. With hybrid working, employees often decide where they work and when they work. This means employees have more autonomy to decide how their work fits in with other things in their lives. In an ideal world, hybrid working provides sociability and structure alongside flexibility and independence. 

One common approach is to decide on specific days for working ‘at the office’. On such days, there are meetings and discussions. And on ‘remote’ days individuals can focus on their own specific tasks. 

With hybrid working becoming more common, companies will likely reduce the amount of office space they rent. They simply won’t need to accommodate so many office workers at any one time. Plus, downsizing office space is a great way to trim the budget. 

 

What is the Optimal Amount of time in an Office? 

Current studies show that two days of remote working is the optimal time for balancing quiet work with collaborative work. This will also allow employees to benefit from commuting less. Of course, you need to decide what works best for your business. 

What does Hybrid Working need to be successful? 

Companies need to aim for equalization between workers. In an ideal world, all employees would attend the office during the same hours. However, this will make social distancing difficult. 

It is also important to instill an ethos of transparent communication. This means that all communication is shared with everyone equally as needed to avoid unnecessary conflict. Every employee, no matter where they are working, needs to be on the same page. 

 

How to make a Hybrid Workforce work. 

Arguably the best legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic is the improved focus on employee wellbeing and health. This is paramount to success. Prioritizing a safe working environment and healthy work practice is going to mean businesses retain workers while improving efficiency. 

Without the necessary technology, support, and resources, a hybrid team simply won’t work. The team needs to be equipped with the devices and technology they need to do their job while working remotely. Businesses need to consider video conferencing software, how to share documents and files, Wi-Fi connections, and messaging apps, just to keep track of everyone. 

It’s clear to see that remote working is going to play a big part in many businesses in the coming years and the future beyond. Companies should start planning for a hybrid workforce.  Proper planning will make it work well for you and your employees. 

If you have any questions about setting up remote workers, or if you need to restructure your office network, contact us.  We can make sure you’re set up for any workforce structure you need. 

The Benefits of Using an MSP

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, a majority of companies have had to make the switch to working remotely to protect employees. This happened quickly when the pandemic was new, and we were told to enforce social distancing. We had to adapt to the acceptance and implementation of becoming a remote workforce. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have been instrumental in providing IT support to businesses across the globe. They assist businesses and companies by securing, monitoring, and maintaining networks and IT infrastructure. 

Over the last 12 months or more, the demand for MSP partnerships has exploded due to the huge increase in remote working. And it won’t go back anytime soon. In fact, over 75% of the workforce hopes to continue working from home when the pandemic ends. The surge in interest is thanks to the huge benefits managed services offer. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what these benefits are for using someone to manage your IT. 

Improved Network Performance 

Having a network that performs well is vital for efficiency. This is even more important now that people are working in lots of different environments. If a network can receive, transmit and exchange data easily, we can consider its performance to be good. We achieve this efficient data exchange by making sure there is the right balance between qualitative and quantitative data. This is the task of network administrators who measure, review and improve services so employees can access the network without issue. This means both in-office and remotely. 

When a company delegates the role of the network administrator to a Managed Service Provider, it makes tackling the challenges of remote working a lot easier. The technological advancement and expertise of an MSP fills the need for an in-house IT team and increases its proficiency. Managed Service Providers have better resources and experience to identify and fix network problems in real-time. What’s more, with an MSP’s continuous monitoring, there is less room for error and fewer problems relating to server space. There is also less downtime. 

Accessing the Latest Technology 

The culture of remote working means that many companies have fast-tracked evolving their technology. Alongside a change in tech, there is an inevitable need for infrastructure changes. With a robust MSP, growing businesses can tap into new technology enhancements. New technology means that companies have tools like hosted telephone systems, virtual desktops, and VPN, as well as lots of applications that provide help for remote working and productivity. Migrating to a web-based cloud needs careful consideration, however, as there are risks if you have no cloud experience. 

24/7 MSP Support Available  

With an in-house team, support is generally only available during working hours. Many MSPs, however, provide around-the-clock services for tech issues, including remote workers. 

Some business owners are skeptical about the value of 24/7 support. That’s because the value is hidden, like the saying, out of sight, out of mind. We’ll just touch on two of the biggest features of 24/7 value as examples. 

First is continuing cybersecurity support. It’s safe to say that hackers never sleep. So why should your business? MSP’s monitor cybersecurity threats overnight as part of their coverage. This gives you an extra layer of safety that you don’t have if everyone goes home at 5:00. 

The second benefit that goes unnoticed is getting network projects done while the workstations are idle. This can be updating or installing software, backing up files, or migrating huge chunks of data to the cloud. This means there is no downtime for your employees. The days of gathering around the water cooler while engineering runs updates are long gone. Also, running these tasks in the middle of the night usually means a lower cost of electricity. Especially in the summer months. 

Risks of Working Remotely  

With remote working, employees are seen as a weak link for cybersecurity. This risk has grown since companies have had to switch to remote working quickly and without warning. 

So, what risks are there with remote workers and how can MSPs help? 

The most likely things to bring organizations grief are ransomware, credential theft, risky clicks, and phishing campaigns. A big concern for business is exposed compromised credentials. If workers have weak or reused passwords, it makes for an easy way in for cybercriminals and hackers. 

We can’t stress enough the importance of password hygiene. This step, along with regular employee training, goes a long way in protecting your company from cyber-attacks. 

How can MSPs help to reduce risks associated with remote working? 

An MSP will install anti-virus software in every workstation. Both in-office and remote. This protects employees from immediate danger and defends employees from malicious emails and ransomware attacks. MSPs will also monitor networks regularly for threats, and will backup data regularly. This means if there is a breach or crash, the MSP can help recover any lost data. 

Using an MSP to help with remote working is a great way to enhance your performance and protect your data. Tasks like migrating on-premises infrastructure to the cloud require careful consideration. It must be done correctly. 

As your MSP we are here to help you with all of your technology needs. From PCs to servers, phone systems to the cloud, we can help. Whenever you need us, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Understanding Cloud Technology: A Summary

When it comes to using cloud technology and solutions, it’s good to know how the cloud works. Today, we’ll look at a summary of what cloud computing services are and how cloud computing could be the right solution for your needs! 

What are Cloud Computing Services? 

First of all, we need to define what the cloud is. While most people are vaguely aware of what the it is, they often don’t fully understand how it works. 

What is the cloud? Well, at its very simplest, it is a virtual data storage solution. In the past, when you wanted to save a file, you had to save the file directly onto your device’s hard drive. There was no option for directly saving the file in a format where you could share it with other individuals or devices. Of course, that’s not to say that files couldn’t be shared and edited by other people. You simply had to send the file to them manually –by email, for example – so they could download it and open the file. 

The cloud provides a different solution for storing your files. New technology allows individuals to save files to the cloud. In turn, files saved are then accessible from anywhere, as long as you’ve got an internet-enabled device upon which to view them. 

How the Cloud Works 

Most people remember using servers or storage devices to save files. The cloud works slightly differently from this, though. Cloud computing companies have expansive cloud data centers. These data centers host many “virtual devices” designed to imitate real, physical devices and desktops. As a result of this, individuals using these computing services can save their files directly onto one of these virtual devices instead of onto their real device. 

By doing so, individuals who’ve saved their files can access them from anywhere. The virtual device model represents a key benefit, of course. It means you can open and edit a file from any internet-enabled device. It also means that other people can access and load the file and work on it at the same time you are working on it. This helps increase productivity and streamlines the work process. It even allows members of a team to work collaboratively on multiple projects at the same time, with multiple team members making edits to the file simultaneously. 

Staying Safe While Using Cloud Storage Solutions! 

Cloud storage solutions represent a safe and secure way of saving your files. A key benefit of these solutions is that they automatically integrate a backup disaster and recovery service. This means that your files are saved across multiple virtual servers. Because of this, cloud computing companies can ensure that your files remain safe and secure. Even in cases where the data center or virtual device has gone down, your data remains safe. 

However, it should be noted that not all threats to your devices come from within the cloud. Indeed, it’s still imperative that you keep cybersecurity protocols at the front of your mind while saving files. Some protective measures you might want to implement could include choosing a complex password and never sharing your login details. 

The Cloud and Big Data 

Big data is a massive business niche nowadays. It is made possible thanks to the invention of cloud computing services and infrastructure. In short, without these computing technologies, software that we all know and love, such as social media, would be very different indeed. 

Big data, as the name would suggest, produces a staggering amount of data and information. For all of this information to be stored on a physical device would be impossible. Indeed, the sheer quantity of data created would be too large for storage on any normal device. Even the most high-tech device couldn’t come close.  However, the cloud makes it possible to store the amount of data that big data applications and programs require. As a result of this, it’s safe to say that the cloud has transformed how we experience the world. 

How the Cloud Allows us to Work from Home 

The cloud has been essential in enabling us to work from home. This was made especially true during the Covid-19 pandemic. With many of us unable to get into the office as we normally would, the new remote workforce found a home in the cloud. Being able to complete work from home has been an increasingly important aspect of our new working lives. As you know, this would almost certainly have been more difficult without cloud technology, if not impossible. 

Cloud technology has made it possible for us to keep working from any internet-connected device. As we’ve summarized, the cloud works by creating virtual devices within the computing companies’ expansive data stores. The cloud infrastructure mades it possible for colleagues to work collaboratively with each other. They can work together even if they are hours away from one another. Furthermore, cloud architecture enables employees to pick up on the work they left at the office from the comfort of their own home. 

For sure, the contribution of cloud solutions during the pandemic has been pivotal. Without them, we would have faced a lot more difficulty adjusting to the new situation that lockdowns and restrictions imposed upon us! 

Get to Know This Technology! 

The cloud is a highly complex topic. But as providers of premium quality information technology support, it’s our job to keep you informed. Please contact us if you have any questions at all. We’re here to help! 

The Cloud and Big Data

Cloud infrastructure is one of the fastest-growing forms of online technology. As a result, it is vitally important for you to understand how cloud computing services work and the benefits that the cloud can offer. We’ll take a look at ‘big data’ and how the cloud can enhance big data security solutions. 

What is the Cloud? 

Let’s take a look at what cloud architecture is. Cloud solutions are growing at a fast pace. The growth is widespread. You can’t go a day without using, or at least being affected by, cloud services. However, many of us still don’t have a complete understanding of what the cloud is. We just accept that it’s something vague, existing somewhere, and we unknowingly access it. 

So, the question remains – what is the cloud? How does the cloud work? What makes the cloud such an immense storage solution? 

Modern cloud infrastructure, at its simplest, is an information technology solution that allows you to save data and files online. This might not seem all that impressive, but when you consider how cloud storage providers achieve this, it’s very intriguing. 

Think back to days gone by when saving a file could only be done on the device you were currently working on. If you wanted to share a file between devices or with colleagues, you would need to manually send it to them. Sometimes this meant burning the data onto offline, physical media. When your colleagues were done with the files, they’d return them to you the same way. 

Cloud computing simplifies this process. Instead of dragging and dropping files, or sending files by email, cloud technology allows the files to be saved offsite. This is done through extensive data centers provided by cloud computing companies. These data centers create multiple virtual “devices” that are capable of saving your files. These files can then be retrieved anywhere, anytime, with an ordinary internet connection. 

Cloud Technology Makes Life Easier! 

Cloud technology operates online instead of on an individual device level. This makes online interactions far easier than in the past. Cloud technology ensures that you can share files across the business network to multiple different desktops, tablets, laptops, and the like. Files can be retrieved even when the operator is on the go! 

As such, it’s safe to say that the cloud has opened up a whole world of potential for businesses and individuals alike. And you can use cloud solutions for more than just sharing today’s cafeteria menu with the faculty. Cloud architecture has become immensely powerful in recent times. And the proof of that power is that the cloud can safely and reliably store big data. 

What is Big Data? 

Like everyone else, you’re probably wondering – what is it? We haven’t clarified this yet. However, it is a vitally important concept in our modern world. The cloud stores this data. 

Big data is, surprisingly, exactly what it sounds like. It is a collection of vast amounts of data that needs to be stored. It is called ‘big data’ because, the created data will almost always be too immense for a normal computer or device to store. However, cloud devices that share storage space can allow this information to be stored easily and safely. That data is hosted virtually in data centers, safely and securely. 

Who Creates Big Data? 

Big data isn’t a problem for individuals or small businesses. Our internet browsing history is unlikely to be so substantial in size that we would need to store the information we produce in the cloud. Large, network-based systems that generate bulk amounts of data that need a lot of storage space, are labeled big data. 

The amount of data these network-based systems generate is so great that it would be simply impossible for any off-the-shelf physical device to successfully store it. Moreover, these extensive data sets would take an immense amount of time for our computers to organize and sort. We’d be waiting for a long time before we got any sort of useful information from the big data. 

Growing businesses need a better storage solution with greater capacity for analyzing information. This scenario is where cloud storage solutions come into play. 

How Cloud Computing Can Securely Store Big Data 

Cloud computing technology is state-of-the-art technology that expert and specialist data centers host. By storing big data on the cloud, companies can benefit from safe data storage. It is also a working back-up system in case of a disaster or network breach. This means, even if one virtual drive should go down, your big data will still be readily available from another drive. Moreover, hacking into cloud systems can be far more complicated than hacking into a physical device. This provides superior protection for files. As a final perk, storing vast quantities of big data on a virtual device can also be much more affordable than investing in physical devices for the same end goal. That means it’ll probably save you money! 

Learn More About Cloud Computing and Big Data! 

As a provider of premium quality IT services and solutions, we’re here to help you find the right support for your needs. So, if you want to learn more about big data, contact our IT services team today. From cloud storage solutions to small business computer support, we’re here to help! 

Cloud and Virtual Office

The cloud has become hugely important in our lives. One notable way the cloud is used these days is for virtual (remote) work. This has escalated with the recent Covid-19 lockdowns. Many of us have experienced a disruption in our normal workflow, making virtual working a reality for more of us than ever. The cloud has been pivotal in the success of these remote working plans. As a result of this, you must know how to use the cloud for remote working. Know how to access files stored on the cloud, and how to ensure your cloud use remains safe and secure! Today, we will be covering all of these different points so that your cloud solutions don’t end up making life harder. 

What is the Cloud? 

Cloud solutions are effectively an online replacement for traditional file storage systems. Years ago, when you wanted to save a file on your desktop device, you would only be saving it on that one device. If you wanted to open this file on other business computers, you would need to send it to that computer somehow – the most obvious way being by email. 

However, this process could quickly get tedious, especially if multiple team members worked on the same file. Cloud computing services would serve to change this. With cloud solutions, you save the files directly online, or “in the cloud.” Since the files and data are saved online, you can access them from any internet-enabled device. 

This makes sharing files easier than it used to be. Furthermore, it allows multiple team members to collaborate on files without hassle. Cloud-based systems such as Google Docs can enable a team to work simultaneously on the same file, enhancing business efficiency overall. 

This can have many different benefits for the business. However, it can also be useful from a personal perspective. For example, it allows people to continue working on their files while they’re on the go! 

In short, without access to the cloud for sharing and saving files throughout lockdowns, we probably would have all had a much more difficult time working through the pandemic. 

Where does the Data go? 

When using the cloud, you might wonder where the data is actually stored. This can be a bit of a complex topic, but the easiest way to describe it is as follows. 

When you use the cloud, a “virtual device” stores your data and files. This virtual device, as the name would suggest, doesn’t physically exist. However, it provides a platform on which to view and save your files. Because of this, the virtual device can save a huge number of files with a large amount of storage potential. 

The virtual devices are hosted by data centers. Professional information technology and cloud computing companies manage these data centers and effectively “hire out” their technology for storing information. Cloud computing services hinge entirely on these data centers, as they provide the hardware required to store files. 

A benefit of cloud storage is, your files aren’t just saved on one device, as they are traditionally. Instead, multiple virtual devices store your files. This ensures that your files will always be available. Backups are stored on other virtual devices to guard against malfunctions. These back-up files are easily accessed when they are needed. 

How to Keep Your Files Safe on the Cloud 

The cloud can offer a considerable number of different benefits for businesses looking to save their files. After the ease of access, which is arguably the most crucial benefit, another perk of cloud architecture is the security that cloud computing services can offer. 

The nature of cloud infrastructure means that multiple virtual devices save your files at one time. This is very similar to the adage of “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” 

With your files saved across multiple virtual devices, you ensure there will always be back-up disaster and recovery options available to you. However, that’s not to say that cloud computing solutions are perfect for security. To make sure you don’t suffer any downtime in case of a disaster or breach, we recommend an on-site BDR. That way you’ll have multiple options when it comes to restoring your lost data. 

Cybersecurity is imperative. While cloud solutions can offer good security for your files, it’s still important that you also follow top tips to keep your data safe. This includes factors such as not sharing personal information and passwords, keeping your device safe from malware, and never leaving your device unattended. Of course, these are just a few cybersecurity tips you should be following. We can check your system and offer professional network security advice. 

Get Professional Computer Help Today! 

If you want to learn more about cloud computing services and how to keep your data safe, our team can provide the advice you need. So, don’t compromise! Contact our team of expert Managed Service gurus help you out! From IT service management to network security improvements and advice on implementing cloud solutions for your business, we can help.